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September, 1899 












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To Col. Charles Yancey, January 6th ... i 

Internal improvements Bank mania Bank paper Schools 
in Virginia. 

To Charles Thomson, January Qth .... 5 

Translation of Bible Jefferson's religion Health. 

To Benjamin Austin,' January Qth .... 7 

Lawyers Monarchists Fate of Europe Dependence on 
England for manufactures Change from views in Notes on 

To Horatio Gates Spafford, January loth . . . 12 

Occupations Not afraid of priests New England clergy. 

To Dabney Carr, January iQth . . . . . 15 

Peter Carr Origin of Committees of Correspondence. 

To James Monroe, February 4th . . . . 18 

Spanish America Boundaries of Louisiana La Harpe's 

To LeRoy and Bayard, April /th . . . . 21 

Debt to Van Staphorst Jefferson's financial position. 

To P. S. Dupont de Nemours, April 24th ... 22 

Constitution for South America Principles of U. S. govern 
ment Moral principles in governments. 

To Dr. George Logan, May iQth .... 26 
Publication of private letters. 

To John Taylor, May 28th 27 

Taylor's Rnquity into the principles of our government 
Adams' book Definition of Republic U. S. government. 

To Francis W. Gilmer, June 7th . . . . 31 

Natural rights Tracy's book Indian governments Corea. 


To William H. Crawford, June 2oth . . . . 34 

Drawbacks Shall U. S. be commercial ? Metal vs. paper 

To Samuel Kercheval, July I2th . . , 37 

Virginia Constitution General principles of government. 

To Thomas Appleton, July i8th . . . , . 46 

Death of Mazzei Jefferson's debt to Mazzei. 
To John Taylor, July 2ist . . . . . . 50 

Schools in Virginia County Courts. 

To Joseph Delaplaine, July 26th . . . . 55 

Peyton Randolph Invasion of Virginia. 

To James Madison, August 2d . . . . . 57 

Visits Mrs. Randolph's illness. 

To William Wirt, September 4th .... 58 
Life of Patrick Henry. 

To Albert Gallatin, September 8th . , . 62 

Congressional salary and changes Drought and crops Dis 
appearance of Federalists Virginia Constitution. 

To James Monroe, October i6th '. . . < 65 
Inscription for capitol. 

To Mathew Carey, November nth . . . 67 

Olive Branch Religion. 

To Dr. George Logan, November I2th . . . 68 

Religion Conduct of U. S. compared with England. 

To Mrs. John Adams, January nth . . . 69 

Events in France Personal relations. 
To John Adams, January nth . ... . 71 

Reading Correspondence Tracy's writings Religion. 

To William Sampson, January 26th . . . , 73 

Farming vs. manufacturing Situation in Great Britain. 

To Charles Thomson, January 2Qth .... 75 
Health Religion. 

To Dr. Thomas Humphreys, February 8th , . 76 
Emancipation and colonization. 



To Francis A. Van der Kemp, March i6th . ; 77 

Threatened publication of Syllabus of Christ's doctrines 

To Tristam Dalton, May 2d . . . 79 


To George Ticknor [May ?]..... 80 

Internal improvements Rumored law of New York against 

To Marquis de Lafayette, May I7th .... 82 

France United States Quakers South America. 

To Wilson Gary Nicholas, June loth ... 86 

Byrd's journal Loan from bank. 

To Dr. John Manners, June I2th .... 86 

Right of expatriation Common law in U. S. 

To F. H. A. Von Humboldt, June I3th . . . 88 

Writings Public improvements. 

To Albert Gallatin, June i6th 90 

Congressional salaries and changes Recent acts Internal 
improvements New York act against Shakers. 

To Charles Clay, July I2th ..... 92 

Maxims of conduct. 

To Goodman, Reed, Boyer, and Duane, August 2ist 93 

Pretended political opinion. 

To George Ticknor, November 25th ... 94 

Books French military schools Education in Virginia 
University of Virginia. 

To William Wirt, January 5th 96 

Life of Patrick Henry Kosciusko's death and will. 

To Joseph C. Cabell, January I4th . . . . 98 

Cost of Virginia schools. 

To Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse, March 3d . >. . 102 

Statement as to Patrick Henry John Adams. 

To Nathaniel Burwell, March I4th , .; . . 104 

French education Fiction. 



To Albert Gallatin, April 9th .. . v . .106 

Ascendency of Republican party. 

To John Adams, May i/th ..... 107 

Holly Origin of Revolution South America. 

To Archibald Stuart, May 28th . . * 109 

Merino sheep. 

To James Wilkinson, June 25th . . . . no 

Falsehood in reference to Pike's expedition Wilson's Orni 

To William H. Crawford, November loth . . in 

Tariff on Wines Evil of whiskey. 

To John Adams, November I3th . . . . 113 

Death of Mrs. Adams. 

To Albert Gallatin, November 24th . . . .114 

France Capture of Pensacola Western and Southern emi 
gration Public Lands Health Cathalan Tracy. 

To Robert Walsh, December 4th . . . .116 

Franklin's enemies Franklin and France Anecdotes of 

To Nathaniel Macon, January 1 2th . . . .119 

Reading Paper money. 

To James Monroe, January i8th .... 122 

Louisiana boundaries. 

To Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse, January 3ist . . 123 

Samuel Adams. 

To James Madison, March 3d ..... 124 

" Sour grapes " of William and Mary College Florida Ar- 
buthnot and Ambrister. 

To Dr. Vine Utley, March 2ist . . . . 125 

Physical habits. 

To Samuel Adams Wells, May 1 2th . . . 127 

Origin of Committees of Correspondence Galloway's history 
of Declaration of Independence McKean's recollections 
Signing of Declaration Samuel Adams Secret Journals. 



To Richard Rush, June 22d 133 

Books Banking system. 

To William Wirt, June 2;th 135 

Kosciusko's property and will. 

To John Adams, July 9th "-136 

Mecklenburg declaration Professors for University of Vir 

To Joseph Marx, August 24th . . . . .139 
Renewal of Notes Endorser. 

To Spencer Roane, September 6th . . . .140 

Letters of Hampden Encroachments of National govern 
ment Right of decision as to constitutionality. 

To William Short, October 3ist . . . . 143 

Jefferson an Epicurean Classic writers Doctrines of Christ. 

To John Adams, November 7th .... 146 

Illnesses Bank-note bubble burst. 

To John Nicholas, November loth .... 148 

Personal relations Nicholas corps Invasion of Virginia. 

To William C. Rives, November 28th . . .150 


To John Adams, December loth . . . .151 

Missouri question Cicero Caesar. 

To Joseph C. Cabell, January 22d . . . .154 

University in Kentucky Missouri question. 

To Robert Walsh, February 6th . . . . 155 
British criticisms of the United States. 

To Hugh Nelson, February /th . . . . .156 

Missouri question Petitions of manufacturers. 

To John Holmes, April 22d ... . . . 157 

Missouri question Emancipation Colonization. 

: To James Monroe, May I4th .- . . . . 158 

Spanish Treaty Texas Florida Cuba. 

To William C. Jarvis, September 28th . . . 160 

Right of decision on constitutionality. 


To Charles Pinckney, September 3oth . , , 161 

Age Paper vs. metallic money Missouri question. 

To J. Correa de Serra, October 24th . . -, 163 
University of Virginia Portugal Piracy. 

To Joseph C. Cabell, November 28th . . " . 165 

University of Virginia Virginia threatened with being the 
Barbary of United States Elementary schools. 

To James Madison, November 2pth .... 168 
Tenche Coxe Removals from office Correa. 

To Thomas Ritchie, December 25th . ,. . 169 

Taylor's Construction Construed Judiciary the dangerous 
branch of the United States government. 

To David B. Warden, December 26th . . .171 

European revolutions Banks Missouri question Botta's 

To A. C. V. C. Destutt de Tracy, December 26th . 173 

Writings South America. 

To Albert Gallatin, December 26th . . .175 

European revolutions Paper money Governmental revenues 
and expenditures Missouri question Pennsylvania and Vir 
ginia Emancipation and colonization. 

To Marquis de Lafayette, December 26th . . 179 

Health Republicanization of Europe Relations with Spain 
Missouri question. 


To James Madison, January 1 3th .':' . . 181 

Treatment of typhus fever Missouri question. 

To Francis Eppes, January igth . . ' . 182 
Opinion of writings of Bolingbroke and Thomas Paine. 

To Archibald Thweat, January igih ... . .184 
Inroads of Federal judiciary. 

To John Adams, January 22d . . .. * .185 

Convention of Massachusetts Missouri question. 

To George A. Otis, February I5th . . . . 187 

Feeling concerning Independence in Colonies. 



To Spencer Roane, March Qth 188 

Corruption of government Federal judiciary Missouri 

To Samuel H. Smith, April i2th . . . 190 

Debt a cause for revolution Danger of geographical lines in 

To Henry Dearborn, August i/th .... 191 

Living signers of Declaration Missouri question Western 

To Nathaniel Macon, August igth . . . .192 

Jefferson's recommendation of Taylor's book Political 

To James Madison, September i6th . . . .194 

Duties on books. 

To Mrs. Elizabeth Page, December 8th . . .195 

Revolutionary services of Thomas Nelson. 

To Rev. Mr. Hatch, December 8th . . . . 197 


To James Pleasants, December 26th . . . .197 

University of Virginia Bankrupt law Curbing of Federal 
judiciary Cooked-up decisions. 

To Thomas Mann Randolph, December 3ist . . 200 

Hackley's claim Spanish grants. 

To Thomas Ritchie, January 7th .... 205 

Endeavor to drag Jefferson into Presidential election. 

To Jedediah Morse, March 6th ..... 203 

Association for civilizing Indians Dangers from private 
societies interfering in governmental functions. 

To Ritchie and Gooch, May I3th .... 208 

Letter of a native Virginian Charge of peculation against 

To John Adams, June 1st ... . . 213 

Charles Thomson Life Health European news. 

To Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse, June 26th . . . 219 

Doctrines of Jesus Corrupted by Platonism. 


To LeRoy and Bayard, July 5th . . ;. . 221 
Jefferson's income Debt to Van Staphorst. 

To William Johnson, October 2/th . . . 222 

Life of General Nathaniel Greene Cooked-up decisions of 
Supreme Court Political parties. 

To Marquis de Lafayette, October 28th . . . 227 

Friendship European affairs Presidential election Politi 
cal parties. 

To Albert Gallatin, October 2gth . . . .235 

Presidential election University of Virginia. 

To Henry Dearborn, October 3ist . . . 236 

Voyage to Lisbon Presidential election Political parties 
University of Virginia Correa. 

To John Adams, November ist .... 238 

Origin of American navy Proposals concerning Barbary 
States Expense of navy. 

To Dr. Thomas Cooper, November 2d 242 

Outbreak of fanaticism in U. S. No professor of divinity in 
University of Virginia Opening of university. 

To James Monroe, December ist . . . . 244 

Mexican news. 

To James Madison, January 26th .... 244 

University of Virginia Life of Gerry Letter to Judge 

To James Madison, February 2 1st . . . 246 

President's hospitality Financial difficulties. 

To William Johnson, March 4th . . . 246 

North American Re-view's notice of Life of Greene History 
of parties Federalist chronicles Jefferson's papers Judiciary 

To William Short, March 28th . t . . 249 

Predictions as to Europe Great Britain and United States. 

To Samuel Smith, May 3d . . . . .251 

Whiskey tax Excise Drunkenness in U. S. Presidential 


To Thomas Leiper, May 3ist 253 

Grasses Politics Banks Prints of Bonaparte. 

To William B. Giles, June Qth 255 

To James Monroe, June nth . . . . . 256 

U. S. should avoid European affairs Cuba England and 

To James Madison, June I3th ..... 259 

Washington's farewell address. 

To James Madison, June 23d ..... 260 

Cuba and Mexico. 

To Albert Gallatin, August 2d . . . . . 261 

Spain Political parties. 

To Samuel H. Smith, August 2d 263 

Qualifications of President Party of consolidation. 

To George Hay, August 7th ..... 264 
Letters of " Phocion" Method of electing President. 

To William B. Giles, August 2pth .... 265 

W. C. Nicholas. 
To James Madison, August 3Oth .... 266 

Pickering's Fourth of July oration Drafting of Declaration 
of Independence Origin of ideas. 

To John Adams, September 4th .... 269 

Slow progress of free ideas Europe John Jay. 

To John Adams, October I2th 272 

Old age University of Virginia Cunningham correspon 

To James Madison, October i8th .... 275 

Letter of Tenche Coxe Controversy between partizans of 
Hamilton and Pickering. 

To James Monroe, October I9th .... 275 

To James Monroe, October 24th .... 277 
Monroe doctrine Great Britain. 

To Marquis de Lafayette, November 4th . . 279 

European affairs Presidential election Political parties 
Miss Wright's books Old age. 



To James Madison, November I5th .... 283 
Questions with Great Britain. 

To John Fry, December 2d . . ; . . 284 
Gift of venison. 

To William Carver, December 4th . . . . 284 
Letters of Thomas Paine Magazine Toleration. 

To Thomas Cooper, December nth . . . . 285 
Class taxation Fanaticism University of Virginia. 

To Andrew Jackson, December i8th . . . 286 



To Thomas J. Grotjan, January roth . . . 287 

Maxims of conduct. 

To John Davis, January i8th 287 

Bancroft's sermons Doctrines of Jesus. 

To George Thacher, January 26th .... 288 

To Jared Sparks, February 4th 289 

Colonization Problem as to negro. 

To James Monroe, February 5th 293 

Publication of papers on Continental Congress Coming of 

To Robert J. Garnett, February I4th . . . 294 

Taylor's New Views of the Constitution True relation of 
national and state governments. 

To James Monroe, February 24th .... 296 
Applicants for office B. Peyton. 

To James Monroe, March 27th . . ..... . . 298 

Relations with Edward Livingston. 

To Thomas Leiper, April 3d . . . . 298 

Presidential election Relations between Pennsylvania and 

To Edward Livingston, April 4th . . . 299 

Political parties Federal and state relations Internal im 



To John H. Pleasants, April 4th .... 302 

Virginia constitution. 

To Richard Rush, June 5th ..... 304 

Tariff of 1824 Andrew Jackson's prospects Crawford and 

To Martin Van Buren, June 2gth .... 305 

Pickering's orations Philippics against Adams and Jefferson 
Relations with Washington Mazzei letter Society of the 
Cincinnati Washington's politics. 

To James Monroe, July i8th ..... 316 

Applications for appointments Conduct of England. 

To Henry Lee, Jr., August roth . . . 317 

Newspapers Political parties. 

To Marquis de Lafayette, September 3d . . .318 

Arrival in America Yorktown Visit to Monticello. 

To Samuel Kerchival, September 5th . . .319 

Virginia constitution. 

To Marquis de Lafayette, October 9th . . . 320 
Tender of dinner Recollections. 

To Richard Rush, October I3th .... 322 

Delirium of Lafayette's visit Presidential election Danger 
of consolidation. 

To Joseph Coolidge, October 24th .... 323 

Courtship of Ellen Jefferson Gift Visit of Lafayette. 

To Charles J. Ingersoll, October 2/th . . . 324 
Walsh's book Conduct of Great Britain. 

To Thomas Leiper, December 6th .... 325 

Application for office Invitation. 

To James Monroe, December I5th .... 326 

Publication of letter. 


To William Short, January 8th ..... 328 

Writings of Harper and Otis Hamilton a monarchist The 
two Adamses Denny History of American parties. 

To Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse, January 8th . . 335 

University of Virginia Health of Adams. 


To Francis A. Van der Kemp, January nth . . 336 
Adams Flourens on nervous system. 

To J. S. Johnson, February 1 3th ... . . 338 

Book on Louisiana La Harpe's History Louisiana bound 

To Thomas J. Smith, February 2 1st . . . 340 

Rules for conduct. 

To Augustus B. Woodward, April 3d ... 341 

Authorship of Virginia constitution Mason Jefferson's 
share in preamble. 

To Henry Lee, Jr., May 8th . . . . 342 

Mason the author of the Virginia Bill of Rights Virginia's 
instruction on Independence Object of Declaration of Inde 

To Fanny Wright, August 7th . . . . . 343 

To John Vaughan, September i6th . . . . 345 
Copies of Declaration of Independence. 

To Dr. James Mease, September 26th . . . 346 
House where Declaration was written. 

To John Adams, December i8th .... 346 

Ellen Jefferson Coolidge Jefferson's wealth Life of R. H. 

To James Madison, December 24th .... 348 
Internal improvements Draft of protest. 

To William B. Giles, December 2$th . . . . 350 

J. Q. Adams and embargo New England negotiations with 
Great Britain. 

To William B. Giles, December 26th . . . 357 

Usurpation of national government Course to be taken 
Publication of letter University of Virginia. 

To William F. Gordon, January 1st . i '' . . 358 

111 health Usurpation of national government Internal im 

To James Madison, January 2d . . . . 359 

Internal improvements University of Virginia. 


To Thomas M. Randolph, January 8th . . . 366 

Private affairs. 

To William Short, January i8th . . . .361 


Thoughts on Lotteries ...... 362 

Cases in Virginia Jefferson's services. 

To Joseph C. Cabell, February /th .... 372 

Lottery for Jefferson Charges of "An American Citizen " 
University of Virginia. 

To Thomas J. Randolph, February 8th . . . 374 

Lottery Despair. 

To James Madison, February I7th .... 375 

University of Virginia Books Legal training Lottery 
Debts Nicholas. 

To Nathaniel Macon, February 2ist . . . 378 

History of North Carolina. 

To James Monroe, February 22d .... 379 

Debts Lottery Virginian estate. 

To George Loyall, February 22d .... 379 

Lottery University of Virginia. 

To Thomas Ritchie, February 28th . . . .381 

Lottery Property. 

To James Monroe, March 8th 383 

Lottery Property . 

To John Q. Adams, March 3Oth .... 383 

Commercial treaties. 

To Edward Everett, April 8th 385 

Lawfulness of slavery U. S. constitution. 

To Henry Lee, Jr., May 3<Dth 385 

Lee's Memoirs Simcoe's raid. 

To Mrs. Joseph Coolidge, June 5th .... 387 

Affection Incipient courtships. 

To Roger C. Weightman, June 24th . . . 390 

Declines invitation to celebrate fiftieth anniversary of Inde 

Jefferson's Will 392 

Jefferson's Epitaph ....... 396 














24-Dec. 5. 

1817. Apr. 




n-Setf. 18. 


22-Dec. 20. 

1818. Apr. 



17-May 3. 





At Monticello. 
At Poplar Forest. 
At Monticello. 
At Poplar Forest. 
At Monticello. 

Writes sketch of Peyton Randolph. 

Proof-reads Wirt's Life of Patrick Henry. 
At Poplar Forest. 
At Monticello. 

Writes inscription for National Capitol. 
At Poplar Forest. 
At Monticello. 
At Poplar Forest. 
At Monticello. 
At Poplar Forest. 
At Monticello. 
At Poplar Forest. 
At Monticello. 
At Poplar Forest. 
At Monticello. 
At Poplar Forest. 
At Monticello. 
At Poplar Forest. 
At Rockfish Gap. 
At Warm Springs. 
At Monticello. 

Writes Anecdotes of Franklin. 


1819. Apr. 22. At Poplar Forest. 

May I. At Monticello. 
July lO-Sept. 10. At Poplar Forest. 

Sept. 14. At Monticello. 

Nov. Draws Plan of circulating medium. 

1820. Sept. 13-21. At Poplar Forest. 

Sept. 24. At Monticello. 

Nov. 15. At Poplar Forest. 

Dec. 19. At Monticello. 

1821. Oct. 20. At Buckspring. 

27. At Monticello. 

1822. May Writes answer to " A Native of Virginia." 

21-6. At Poplar Forest. 

30. At Monticello. 

1823. May 21. At Poplar Forest. 

May 27. At Monticello. 

June At Bedford. 

July At Monticello. 

1824. Dec. Visited by Daniel Webster. 

1825. Dec. Drafts Protest for Virginia. 

1826. Feb. Writes Notes on Lotteries. 

Mar. 1 6. Executes Will. 

17. Adds Codicil to Will. 

June 24. Declines invitation to join in celebrating July 


25. Writes last letter. 

July 4. Dies. 






MONTICELLO, January 6, 1816. 

DEAR SIR, I am favored with yours of December 24th, and 
perceive you have many matters before you of great moment. 
I have no fear but that the legislature will do on all of them 
what is wise and just. On the particular subject of our river, in 
the navigation of which our county has so great an interest, I 
think the power of permitting dams to be erected across it, ought 
to be taken from the courts, so far as the stream has water 
enough for navigation. The value of our property is sensibly 
lessened by the dam which the court of Fluvana authorized not 
long since to be erected, but a little above its mouth. This 
power over the value and convenience of our lands is of much 
too high a character to be placed at the will of a county court, 
and that of a county, too, which has not a common interest in 
the preservation of the navigation for those above them. As to 
the existing dams, if any conditions are proposed more than 


those to which they were subjected on their original erection, I 
think they would be allowed the alternative of opening a sluice 
for the passage of navigation, so as to put the river into as good 
a condition for navigation as it was before the erection of their 
dam, or as it would be if their dam were away. Those interested 
in the navigation might then use the sluices or make locks as 
should be thought best. Nature and reason, as well as all our 
constitutions, condemn retrospective conditions as mere acts of 
power against right. 

I recommend to your patronage our Central College. I look 
to it as a germ from which a great tree may spread itself. 

There is before the assembly a petition of a Captain Miller 
which I have at heart, because I have great esteem for the peti 
tioner as an honest and useful man. He is about to settle in 
our county, and to establish a brewery, in which art I think him 
as skilful a man as has ever come to America. I wish to see this 
beverage become common instead of the whiskey which kills 
one-third of our citizens and ruins their families. He is staying 
with me until he can fix himself, and I should be thankful for 
information from time to time of the progress of his petition. 

Like a dropsical man calling out for water, water, our deluded 
citizens are clamoring for more banks, more banks. The Ameri 
can mind is now in that state of fever which the world has so 
often seen in the history of other nations. We are under the 
bank bubble, as England was under the South Sea bubble, 
France under the Mississippi bubble, and as every nation is 
liable to be, under whatever bubble, design, or delusion may puff 
up in moments when off their guard. We are now taught to be- 
believe that legerdemain tricks upon paper can produce as solid 
wealth as hard labor in the earth. It is vain for common sense 
to urge that nothing can produce nothing ; that it is an idle dream 
to believe in a philosopher's stone which is to turn everything 
into gold, and to redeem man from the original sentence of his 
Maker, " in the sweat of his brow shall he eat his bread." Not 
Quixot enough, however, to attempt to reason Bedlam to rights, 
my anxieties are turned to the most practicable means of with 
drawing us from the ruin into which we have run. Two hundred 
millions of paper in the hands of the people, (and less cannot be 


from the employment of a banking capital known to exceed one 
hundred millions,) is a fearful tax to fall at haphazard on their 
heads. The debt which purchased our independence was but of 
eighty millions, of which twenty years of taxation had in 1809 
paid but the one half. And what have we purchased with this 
tax of two hundred millions which we are to pay by wholesale but 
usury, swindling, and new forms of demoralization. Revolution 
ary history has warned us of the probable moment when this base 
less trash is to receive its fiat. Whenever so much of the precious 
metals shall have returned into the circulation as that everyone 
can get some in exchange for his produce, paper, as in the revo 
lutionary war, it will experience at once an universal rejection. 
When public opinion changes, it is with the rapidity of thought. 
Confidence is already on the totter, and every one now handles 
this paper as if playing at Robin 's alive. That in the present 
state of the circulation the bank should resume payments in 
specie, would require their vaults to be like the widow's cruse. 
The thing to be aimed at is, that the excesses of their emissions 
should be withdrawn as gradually, but as speedily, too, as is prac 
ticable, without so much alarm as to bring on the crisis dreaded. 
Some banks are said to be calling in their paper. But ought we 
to let this depend on their discretion ? Is it not the duty of the 
legislature to avert from their constituents such a catastrophe as 
the extinguishment of two hundred millions of paper in their 
hands? The difficulty is indeed great : and the greater, because 
the patient revolts against all medicine. I am far from presuming 
to say that any plan can be relied on with certainty, because 
the bubble may burst from one moment to another ; but if it fails, 
we shall be but where we should have been without any effort to 
save ourselves. Different persons, doubtless, will devise different 
schemes of relief. One would be to suppress instantly the cur 
rency of all paper not issued under the authority of our State or of 
the*Ceneral Government ; to interdict after a few months the cir 
culation of all bills of five dollars and under : after a few months 
more, all of ten dollars and under ; after other terms, those of 
twenty, fifty, and so on to one hundred dollars, which last, if any 
must be left in circulation, should be the lowest denomination. 
These might be a convenience in mercantile transactions and 


transmissions, and would be excluded by their size from ordinary 
circulation. But the disease may be too pressing to await such a 
remedy. With the legislature I cheerfully leave it to apply this 
medicine, or no medicine at all. I am sure their intentions are 
faithful ; and embarked in the same bottom, I am willing to swim 
or sink with my fellow citizens. If the latter is their choice, I will 
go down with them without a murmur. But my exhortation 
would rather be " not to give up the ship." 

I am a great friend to the improvements of roads, canals, and 
schools. But I wish I could see some provision for the former 
as solid as that of the latter, something better than fog. The 
literary fund is a solid provision, unless lost in the impending 
bankruptcy. If the legislature would add to that a perpetual tax 
of a cent a head on the population of the State, it would set 
agoing at once, and forever maintain, a system of primary or 
ward schools, and an university where might be taught, in its 
highest degree, every branch of science useful in our time and 
country ; and it would rescue us from the tax of toryism, fanati 
cism, and indifferentism to their own State, which we now send 
our youth to bring from those of New England. If a nation 
expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it ex 
pects what never was and never will be. The functionaries of 
every government have propensities to command at will the lib 
erty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit 
for these but with the people themselves ; nor can they be safe 
with them without information. Where the press is free, and 
every man able to read, all is safe. The frankness of this com 
munication will, I am sure, suggest to you a discreet use of it. 
I wish to avoid all collisions of opinion with all mankind. Show 
it to Mr. Maury, with expressions of my great esteem. It pre 
tends to convey no more than the opinions of one of your thou 
sand constituents, and to claim no more attention than every 
other of that thousand. 

I will ask you once more to take care of Miller and our Col 
lege, and to accept assurance of my esteem and respect. 



MONTICELLO, January g, 1816. 

of fifty-two years, for I think ours dates from 1764, 
calls for an interchange of notice now and then, that 
we remain in existence, the monuments of another 
age, and examples of a friendship unaffected by the 
jarring elements by which we have been surrounded, 
of revolutions of government, of party and of opin 
ion. I am reminded of this duty by the receipt, 
through our friend Dr. Patterson, of your synopsis of 
the four Evangelists. I had procured it as soon as I 
saw it advertised, and had become familiar with its 
use ; but this copy is the more valued as it comes 
from your hand. This work bears the stamp of that 
accuracy which marks everything from you, and will 
be useful to those who, not taking things on trust, 
recur for themselves to the fountain of pure morals. 
I, too, have made a wee-little book from the same 
materials, which I call the Philosophy of Jesus ; it is 
a paradigma of his doctrines, made by cutting the 
texts out of the book, and arranging them on the 
pages of a blank book, in a certain order of time or 
subject. A more beautiful or precious morsel of 
ethics I have never seen ; it is a document in proof 
that / am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple 
of tha doctrines of Jesus, very different from the 
Platonists, who call me infidel and themselves Chris 
tians and preachers of the gospel, while they draw all 
their characteristic dogmas from what its author 
never said nor saw. They have compounded from 


the heathen mysteries a system beyond the compre 
hension of man, of which the great reformer of the 
vicious ethics and deism of the Jews, were he to return 
on earth, would not recognize one feature. If I had 
time I would add to my little book the Greek, Latin 
and French texts, in columns side by side. And I 
wish I could subjoin a translation of Gosindi's Syn 
tagma of the doctrines of Epicurus, which, notwith 
standing the calumnies of the Stoics and caricatures 
of Cicero, is the most rational system remaining of 
the philosophy of the ancients, as frugal of vicious 
indulgence, and fruitful of virtue as the hyperbolical 
extravagances of his rival sects. 

I retain good health, am rather feeble to walk 
much, but ride with ease, passing two or three hours 
a day on horseback, and every three or four months 
taking in a carriage a journey of ninety miles to a 
distant possession, where I pass a good deal of my 
time. My eyes need the aid of glasses by night, and 
with small print in the day also ; my hearing is not 
quite so sensible as it used to be ; no tooth shaking 
yet, but shivering and shrinking in body from the 
cold we now experience, my thermometer having 
been as low as 12 this morning. My greatest op 
pression is a correspondence afflictingly laborious, 
the extent of which I have been long endeavoring to 
curtail. This keeps me at the drudgery of the writ 
ing-table all the prime hours of the day, leaving for 
the gratification of my appetite for reading, only 
what I can steal from the hours of sleep. Could I 
reduce this epistolary corvee within the limits of my 


friends and affairs, and give the time redeemed from 
it to reading and reflection, to history, ethics, mathe 
matics, my life would be as happy as the infirmities 
of age would admit, and I should look on its consum 
mation with the composure of one " qui summum nee 
me tuit diem nee op tat" 

So much as to myself, and I have given you this 
string of egotisms in the hope of drawing a similar 
one from yourself. I have heard from others that 
you retain your health, a good degree of activity, and 
all the vivacity and cheerfulness of your mind, but 
I wish to learn it more minutely from yourself. How 
has time affected your health and spirits ? What are 
your amusements, literary and social ? Tell me every 
thing about yourself, because all will be interesting 
to me who retains for you ever the same constant 
and affectionate friendship and respect. 


MONTICELLO, January 9, 1816. 

DEAR SIR, Your favor of December 2ist has been received, 
and I am first to thank you for the pamphlet it covered. The 
same description of persons which is the subject of that is so 
much multiplied here too, as to be almost a grievance, and by 
their numbers in the public councils, have wrested from the pub 
lic hand^the direction of the pruning knife. But with us as a 
body, they are republican, and mostly moderate in their views ; 
so far, therefore, less objects of jealousy than with you. Your 
opinions on the events which have taken place in France, are 
entirely just, so far as these events are yet developed. But they 
have not reached their ultimate termination. There is still an 
awful void between the present and what is to be the last chap- 


ter of that history ; and I fear it is to be filled with abomina 
tions as frightful as those which have already disgraced it. That 
nation is too high-minded, has too much innate force, intelligence 
and elasticity, to remain under its present compression. Samson 
will arise in his strength, as of old, and as of old will burst asunder 
the withes and the cords, and the webs of the Philistines. But 
what are to be the scenes of havoc and horror, and how widely 
they may spread between brethren of the same house, our igno 
rance of the interior feuds and antipathies of the country places 
beyond our ken. It will end, nevertheless, in a representative 
government, in a government in which the will of the people 
will be an effective ingredient. This important element has 
taken root in the European mind, and will have its growth ; 
their despots, sensible of this, are already offering this modifica 
tion of their governments, as if of their own accord. Instead of 
the parricide treason of Bonaparte, in perverting the means con 
fided to him as a republican magistrate, to the subversion of that 
republic and erection of a military despotism for himself and his 
family, had he used it honestly for the establishment and support 
of a free government in his own country, France would now 
have been in freedom and rest ; and her example operating in a 
contrary direction, every nation in Europe would have had a gov 
ernment over which the will of the people would have had some 
control. His atrocious egotism has checked the salutary progress 
of principle, and deluged it with rivers of blood which are not 
yet run out. To the vast sum of devastation and of human mis 
ery, of which he has been the guilty cause, much is still to be 
added. But the object is fixed in the eye of nations, and they 
will press on to its accomplishment and to the general ameliora 
tion of the condition of man. What a germ have we planted, 
and how faithfully should we cherish the parent tree at 
home ! 

You tell me I am quoted by those who wish to continue our 
dependence on England for manufactures. There was a time 
when I might have been so quoted with more candor, but within 
the thirty years which have since elapsed, how are circumstances 
changed ! We were then in peace. Our independent place 
among nations was acknowledged. A commerce which offered 


the raw material in exchange for the same material after re 
ceiving the last touch of industry, was worthy of welcome to all 
nations. It was expected that those especially to whom manu 
facturing industry was important, would cherish the friendship 
of such customers by every favor, by every inducement, and par 
ticularly cultivate their peace by every act of justice and friend 
ship. Under this prospect the question seemed legitimate, 
whether, with such an immensity of unimproved land, courting 
the hand of husbandry, the industry of agriculture, or that of 
manufactures, would add most to the national wealth ? And the 
doubt was entertained on this consideration chiefly, that to the 
labor of the husbandman a vast addition is made by the spon 
taneous energies of the earth on which it is employed : for one 
grain of wheat committed to the earth, she renders twenty, 
thirty, and even fifty fold, whereas to the labor of the manu 
facturer nothing is added. Pounds of flax, in his hands, yield, on 
the contrary, but pennyweights of lace. This exchange, too, la 
borious as it might seem, what a field did it promise for the occu 
pations of the ocean ; what a nursery for that class of citizens 
who were to exercise and maintain our equal rights on that ele 
ment ? This was the state of things !in 1785, when the "Notes 
on Virginia " were first printed ; when, the ocean being open to 
all nations, and their common right in it acknowledged and ex 
ercised under regulations sanctioned by the assent and usage of 
all, it was thought that the doubt might claim some considera 
tion. But who in 1785 could foresee the rapid depravity which 
was to render the close of that century the disgrace of the history 
of man ? Who could have imagined that the two most dis 
tinguished in the rank of nations, for science and civilization, 
would have suddenly descended from that honorable eminence, 
and setting at defiance all those moral laws established by the 
Author o nature between nation and nation, as between man 
and man, would cover earth and sea with robberies and piracies, 
merely because strong enough to do it with temporal impunity ; 
and that under this disbandment of nations from social order, we 
should have been despoiled of a thousand ships, and have thou 
sands of our citizens reduced to Algerine slavery. Yet all this 
has taken place. One of these nations interdicted to our vessels 


all harbors of the globe without having first proceeded to some 
one of hers, there paid a tribute proportioned to the cargo, and 
obtained her license to proceed to the port of destination. The 
other declared them to be lawful prize if they had touched at the 
port, or been visited by a ship of the enemy nation. Thus were 
we completely excluded from the ocean. Compare this state of 
things with that of '85, and say whether an opinion founded in 
the circumstances of that day can be fairly applied to those of 
the present. We have experienced what we did not then be 
lieve, that there exists both profligacy and power enough to ex 
clude us from the field of interchange with other nations : that 
to be independent for the comforts of life we must fabricate them 
ourselves. We must now place the manufacturer by the side of 
the agriculturist. The former question is suppressed, or rather 
assumes a new form. Shall we make our own comforts, or go 
without them, at the will of a foreign nation ? He, therefore, who 
is now against domestic manufacture, must be for reducing us 
either to dependence on that foreign nation, or to be clothed in 
skins, and to live like wild beasts in dens and caverns. I am 
not one of these ; experience has taught me that manufactures 
are now as necessary to our independence as to our comfort ; 
and if those who quote me as of a different opinion, will keep 
pace with me in purchasing nothing foreign where an equivalent 
of domestic fabric can be obtained, without regard to difference 
of price, it will not be our fault if we do not soon have a supply 
at home equal to our demand, and wrest that weapon of distress 
from the hand which has wielded it. If it shall be proposed to 
go beyond our own supply, the question of '85 will then recur, 
will our surplus labor be then most beneficially employed in the 
culture of the earth, or in the fabrications of art ? We have time 
yet for consideration, before that question will press upon us ; 
and the maxim to be applied will depend on the circumstances 
which shall then exist ; for in so complicated a science as politi 
cal economy, no one axiom can be laid down as wise and ex 
pedient for all times and circumstances, and for their contraries. 
Inattention to this is what has called for this explanation, which 
reflection would have rendered unnecessary with the candid, 
while nothing will do it with those who use the former opinion 


only as a stalking horse, to cover their disloyal propensities 
to keep us in eternal vassalage to a foreign and unfriendly 

I salute you with assurances of great respect and esteem. 1 

1 Jefferson further wrote to Austin : 

MONTICELLO, February 9, 1816. 

SIR, Your favor of January 25th is just now received. I am in general ex 
tremely unwilling to be carried into the newspapers, no matter what the 
subject ; the whole pack of the Essex kennel would open upon me. With 
respect, however, to so much of my letter of January gth as relates to manu 
factures, I have less repugnance, because there is perhaps a degree of duty to 
avow a change of opinion called for by a change of circumstance, and es 
pecially on a point now become peculiarly interesting. 

What relates to Bonaparte stands on different ground. You think it will 
silence the misrepresentations of my enemies as to my opinion of him. No, 
Sir ; it will not silence them. They had no ground either in my words or 
actions for these misrepresentations before, and cannot have less afterwards ; 
nor will they calumniate less. There is, however, a consideration respecting 
our own friends, which may merit attention. I have grieved to see even good 
republicans so infatuated as to this man, as to consider his downfall as calami 
tous to the cause of liberty. In their indignation against England which is 
just, they seem to consider all her enemies as our friends, when it is well known 
there was not a being on earth who bore us so deadly a hatred. In fact, he 
saw nothing in this world but himself, and looked on the people under him as 
his cattle, beasts for burthen and slaughter. Promises cost him nothing when 
they could serve his purpose. On his return from Elba, what did he not promise ? 
But those who had credited them a little, soon saw their total insignificance, 
and, satisfied they could not fall under worse hands, refused every effort after 
the defeat of Waterloo. Their present sufferings will have a term ; his iron 
despotism would have had none. France has now a family of fools at its head, 
from whom, whenever it can shake off its foreign riders, it will extort a free 
constitution, or dismount them and establish some other on the solid basis of 
national right. To whine after this exorcised demon is a disgrace to republi 
cans, and must have arisen either from want of reflection, or the indulgence of 
passion against principle. If anything I have said could lead them to take cor- 
recter views, to rally to the polar principles of genuine republicanism, I could 
consent that that part of my letter also should go into a newspaper. This I 
leave to yourself and such candid friends as you may consult. There is one 
word in the letter, however, which decency towards the allied sovereigns 
requires should be softened. Instead of despots, call them rulers. The 
first paragraph, too, of seven or eight lines, must be wholly omitted. Trusting 
all the rest to your discretion, I salute you with great esteem and respect. 



MONTICELLO Jan. 10. 16. 

DEAR SIR, Of the last 5 months 4 have been passed at my 
distant possession, to which no letters are carried to me, because 
the crosspost is too circuitous and unsafe to be trusted. On my 
return I find an immense accumulation of them calling for 
answers, & among these your favor of the 25th ult. In this you re 
quest me to examine the MS. tract it covered, to suggest amend 
ments or alterations, give my remarks & opinion of the propriety 
of the sentiments, point out improvements, and say whether it 
should be published now. From this undertaking, my good sir, 
I must pray you to excuse me. In the first place I really have 
not the time to spare. My other occupations are incessant and 
indispensable. Within doors and without, there is something ever 
pressing, insomuch that I often have not a moment to read the 
papers of the day, and if to read anything else it must be in 
hours stolen from those of sleep. In the next place I have made 
it a point not to meddle with the writings of others. It is un 
pleasant to one's self, and generally injurious to the composition 
reviewed. The train in which a man commits his own thoughts 
to paper has in it generally a certain method and order. If this 
be altered, interrupted, chequered by the ideas of another, the 
composition becomes a medley of different views on the same 
subject, incoherent & deformed. So few are my spare moments 
that I have not been able even to read it through : because the 
MS. is in a handwriting extremely difficult to me ; and I shall 
read it with more pleasure, and more understanding in print. I 
concur with you in it's design ; and as far as I have penetrated, 
I find the matter good and am sure it will be useful. I hope 
therefore to see it in your next magazine to be followed by many 
others having the same object. 

(You judge truly that I am not afraid of the priests. They 
have tried upon me all their various batteries, of pious whining, 
hypocritical canting, lying & slandering, without being able to 
give me one moment of pain. I have contemplated their order 
from the Magi of the East to the Saints of the West, and I have 
found no difference of character, but of more or less caution, in 


proportion to their information or ignorance of those on whom 
their interested duperies were to be plaid off. Their sway in 
New England is indeed formidable. No mind beyond mediocrity 
dares there to develope itself. If it does, they excite against it 
the public opinion which they command, & by little, but inces 
sant and teasing persecutions, drive it from among them. Their 
present emigrations to the Western country are real flights from 
persecution, religious & political, but the abandonment of the 
country by those who wish to enjoy freedom of opinion leaves 
the despotism over the residue more intense, more oppressive. 
They are now looking to the flesh pots of the South and aiming 
at foothold there by their missionary teachers. They have lately 
come forward boldly with their plan to establish ' a qualified re 
ligious instructor over every thousand souls in the US." And 
they seem to consider none as qualified but their own sect. 
Thus, in Virginia, they say there are but 60, qualified, and that 
914 are still wanting of the full quota. All besides the 60, are 
'mere nominal ministers unacquainted with theology.' Now the 
60. they allude to are exactly in the string of counties at the West 
ern foot of the Blue ridge, settled originally by Irish presbyter- 
ians, and composing precisely the tory district of the state. There 
indeed is found in full vigor the hypocrisy, the despotism, and 
anti-civism of the New England qualified religious instructors. 
The country below the mountains, inhabited by Episcopalians, 
Methodists & Baptists (under mere nominal ministers unac 
quainted with theology) are pronounced ' destitute of the means 
of grace, and as sitting in darkness and under the shadow of 
death.' They are quite in despair too at the insufficient means 
of New England to fill this fearful void, 'with Evangelical light, 
with catechetical instructions, weekly lectures, & family visiting. 
That Yale cannot furnish above 80. graduates annually, and Har 
vard perhaps not more. That there must therefore be an imme 
diate, universal, vigorous & systematic effort made to evangelize 
the nation. To see that there is a a bible for every family, a 
school for every district, and a qualified (i. e. Presbyterian) 'pastor 
for every thousand souls ; that newspapers, tracts, magazines 
must be employed ; the press be made to groan, & every pulpit 
in the land to sound it's trumpet long and loud. A more homo- 

i 4 THE WRITINGS OF [1816 

geneous' (I.E. New England) 'character must be produced 
thro' the nation.' That section then of our union having lost it's 
political influence by disloyalty to it's country is now to recover 
it under the mask of religion. It is to send among us their Gar- 
diners, their Osgoods, their Parishes & Pearsons, as apostles to 
teach us their orthodoxy. This is the outline of the plan as pub 
lished by Messrs. Beecher, Pearson & Co. It has uttered how 
ever one truth. ' That the nation must be awaked to save itself 
by it's own exertions, or we are undone.' And I trust that this 
publication will do not a little to awaken it ; and that in aid of it 
newspapers, tracts and magazines must sound the trumpet. Yours 
I hope will make itself heard, and the louder as yours is the near 
est house in the course of conflagration.) l 

1 Jefferson omitted the paragraph which he bracketed as above, but he sent a 
transcript of it to Thomas Ritchie, editor of the Richmond Enquirer, with the 
following letter : 

MONTICELLO, January 21, 1816. 

DEAR SIR, In answering the letter of a northern correspondent lately, I 
indulged in a tirade against a pamphlet recently published in this quarter. On 
revising my letter, however, I thought it unsafe to commit myself so far to a 
stranger. I struck out the passage therefore, yet I think the pamphlet of such 
a character as not to be unknown, or unnoticed by the people of the United 
States. It is the most bold and impudent stride New England has ever made 
in arrogating an ascendency over the rest of the Union. The first form of the 
pamphlet was an address from the Reverend Lyman Beecher, chairman of the 
Connecticut Society for the education of pious young men for the ministry. Its 
matter was then adopted and published in a sermon by Reverend Mr. Pearson 
of Andover in Massachusetts, where they have a theological college ; and where 
the address " with circumstantial variations to adapt it to more general use" is 
reprinted on a sheet and a half of paper, in so cheap a form as to be distributed, 
I imagine, gratis, for it has a final note indicating six thousand copies of the 
first edition printed. So far as it respects Virginia, the extract of my letter 
gives the outline. I therefore send it to you to publish or burn, abridge or 
alter, as you think best. You understand the public palate better than I do. 
Only give it such a title as may lead to no suspicion from whom you receive it. 
I am the more induced to offer it to you because it is possible mine may be the 
only copy in the State, and because, too, it may be a propos for the petition for 
the establishment of a theological society now before the legislature, and to which 
they have shown the unusual respect of hearing an advocate for it at their bar. 
From what quarter this theological society comes forward I know not ; perhaps 
from our own tramontaine clergy, of New England religion and politics ; per 
haps it is the entering wedge from its theological sister in Andover, for the body 


I have not sent your tract to the President as you requested, 
fearing that if any further delay be added to that already incurred, 
it will be too late for your purpose of inserting it in the January 

From contest of every kind I withdraw myself entirely. I have 
served my hour, and a long one it has been. Tranquility is the 
object of my remaining years, and I leave to more vigorous bodies 
& minds the service which has rightfully, & in succession de 
volved on them. Accept the assurances of my great respect and 


MONTlCELLO, January 19, 1816. 

DEAR SIR, At the date of your letter of Decem 
ber the ist, I was in Bedford, and since my return, so 
many letters, accumulated during my absence, have 
been pressing for answers, that this is the first mo 
ment I have been able to attend to the subject of 
yours. While Mr. Girardin was in this neighbor 
hood writing his continuation of Burke's history, I 
had suggested to him a proper notice of the estab 
lishment of the committee of correspondence here in 
1773, and of Mr. Carr, your father, who introduced 
it. He has doubtless done this, and his work is now 
in the press. My books, journals of the times, &c., 
being all gone, I have nothing now but an impaired 
memory to resort to for the more particular statement 
you wish. But I give it with the more confidence, as I 
find that'll remember old things better than new. 

of "qualified religious instructors" proposed by their pious brethren of the 
East " to evangelize and catechize," to edify our daughters by weekly lectures, 
and our wives by " family visits" from these pious young monks from Harvard 
and Yale. However, do with this what you please, and be assured of my 
friendship and respect. 

1 6 THE WRITINGS OF [1816 

The transaction took place in the session of Assem 
bly of March 1773. Patrick Henry, Richard Henry 
Lee, Frank Lee, your father and myself, met by 
agreement, one evening, about the close of the ses 
sion, at the Raleigh Tavern, to consult on the meas 
ures which the circumstances of the times seemed to 
call for. We agreed, in result, that concert in the 
operations of the several colonies was indispensable ; 
and that to produce this, some channel of corre 
spondence between them must be opened ; that there 
fore, we would propose to our House the appointment 
of a committee of correspondence, which should be 
authorized and instructed to write to the Speakers of 
the House of Representatives of the several Colonies, 
recommending the appointment of similar committees 
on their part, who, by a communication of sentiment 
on the transactions threatening us all, might promote 
a harmony of action salutary to all. This was the 
substance, not pretending to remember the words. 
We proposed the resolution, and your father was 
agreed on to make the motion. He did it the next 
day, March the i2th, with great ability, reconciling 
all to it, not only by the reasonings, but by the tem 
per and moderation with which it was developed. It 
was adopted by a very general vote. Peyton Ran 
dolph, some of us who proposed it, and who else I 
do not remember, were appointed of the committee. 
We immediately despatched letters by expresses to 
the Speakers of all the other Assemblies. I remem 
ber that Mr. Carr and myself, returning home to 
gether, and conversing on the subject by the way, 


concurred in the conclusion that that measure must 
inevitably beget the meeting of a Congress of Dep 
uties from all the colonies, for the purpose of uniting 
all in the same principles and measures for the main 
tenance of our rights. My memory cannot deceive 
me, when I affirm that we did it in consequence of 
no such proposition from any other colony. No 
doubt the resolution itself and the journals of the day 
will show that ours was original, and not merely re 
sponsive to one from any other quarter. Yet, I am 
certain I remember also, that a similar proposition, 
and nearly cotemporary, was made by Massachusetts, 
and that our northern messenger passed theirs on the 
road. This, too, may be settled by recurrence to the 
records of Massachusetts. The proposition was gen 
erally acceded to by the other colonies, and the first 
effect, as expected, was the meeting of a Congress at 
New York the ensuing year. The committee of cor 
respondence appointed by Massachusetts, as quoted 
by you from Marshall, under the date of 1770, must 
have been for a special purpose, and functus officio 
before the date of 1773, or Massachusetts herself 
would not then have proposed another. Records 
should be examined to settle this accurately. I well 
remember the pleasure expressed in the countenance 
and conversation of the members generally, on this 
debut of Mr. Carr, and the hopes they conceived as 
well from the talents as the patriotism it manifested. 
But he died within two months after, and in him we 
lost a powerful fellow-laborer. His character was of 
a high order. A spotless integrity, sound judgment, 

1 8 THE WRITINGS OF [1816 

handsome imagination, enriched by education and 
reading, quick and clear in his conceptions, of correct 
and ready elocution, impressing every hearer with the 
sincerity of the heart from which it flowed. His 
firmness was inflexible in whatever he thought was 
right; but when no moral principle stood in the way, 
never had man more of the milk of human kindness, 
of indulgence, of softness, of pleasantry of conversa 
tion and conduct. The number of his friends, and 
the warmth of their affection, were proofs of his worth, 
and of their estimate of it. To give to those now 
living, an idea of the affliction produced by his death 
in the minds of all who knew him, I liken it to that 
lately felt by themselves on the death of his eldest 
son, Peter Carr, so like him in all his endowments 
and moral qualities, and whose recollection can never 
recur without a deep-drawn sigh from the bosom of 
any one who knew him. You mention that I showed 
you an inscription I had proposed for the tomb stone 
of your father. Did I leave it in your hands to be 
copied ? I ask the question, not that I have any 
such recollection, but that I find it no longer in the 
place of its deposit, and think I never took it out but 
on that occasion. Ever and affectionately yours. 


MONTICELLO, February 4, 1816. 

DEAR SIR, Your letter concerning that of General Scott is 
received, and his is now returned. I am very thankful for these 
communications. From forty years' experience of the wretched 
guess-work of the newspapers of what is not done in open day 
light, and of their falsehood even as to that, I rarely think them 


worth reading, and almost never worth notice. A ray, therefore, 
now and then, from the fountain of light, is like sight restored 
to the blind. It tells me where I am ; and that to a mariner who 
has long been without sight of land or sun, is a rallying of reck 
oning which places him at ease. The ground you have taken 
with Spain is sound in every part. It is the true ground, es 
pecially, as to the South Americans. When subjects are able to 
maintain themselves in the field, they are then an independent 
power as to all neutral nations, are entitled to their commerce, 
and to protection within their limits. Every kindness which can 
be shown the South Americans, every friendly office and aid 
within the limits of the law of nations, I would extend to them, 
without fearing Spain or her Swiss auxiliaries. For this is but 
an assertion of our own independence. But to join in their war, 
as General Scott proposes, and to which even some members of 
Congress seem to squint, is what we ought not to do as yet. On 
the question of our interest in their independence, were that alone 
a sufficient motive of action, much may be said on both sides. 
When they are free, they will drive every article of our produce 
from every market, by underselling it, and change the condition 
of our existence, forcing us into other habits and pursuits. We 
shall, indeed, have in exchange some commerce with them, but 
in what I know not, for we shall have nothing to offer which 
they cannot raise cheaper ; and their separation from Spain seals 
our everlasting peace with her. On the other hand, so long as 
they are dependent, Spain, from her jealousy, is our natural 
enemy, and always in either open or secret hostility with us. 
These countries, too, in war, will be a powerful weight in her 
scale, and, in peace, totally shut to us. Interest then, on the 
whole, would wish their independence, and justice makes the 
wish a duty. They have a right to be free, and we a right to 
aid them, as a strong man has a right to assist a weak one as 
sailed by a robber or murderer. That a war is brewing between 
us and Spain cannot be doubted. When that disposition is ma 
tured on both sides, and open rupture can no longer be deferred, 
then will be the time for our joining the South Americans, and 
entering into treaties of alliance with them. There will then be 
but one opinion, at home or abroad, that we shall be justifiable 


in choosing to have them with us, rather than against us. In 
the meantime, they will have organized regular governments, 
and perhaps have formed themselves into one or more confeder 
acies ; more than one I hope, as in single mass they would be a 
very formidable neighbor. The geography of their country 
seems to indicate three : i. What is north of the Isthmus. 2. 
What is south of it on the Atlantic ; and 3. The southern part 
on the Pacific. In this form, we might be the balancing power. 
A propos of the dispute with Spain, as to the boundary of Louis 
iana. On our acquisition of that country, there was found in pos 
session of the family of the late Governor Messier, a most valuable 
and original MS. history of the settlement of Louisiana by the 
French, written by Bernard de la Harpe, a principal agent 
through the whole of it. It commences with the first permanent 
settlement of 1699, (that by de la Salle in 1684, having been 
broken up,) and continues to 1723, and shows clearly the con. 
tinual claim of France to the Province of Texas, as far as the 
Rio Bravo, and to all the waters running into the Mississippi, and 
how, by the roguery of St. Denis, an agent of Crozat the mer 
chant, to whom the colony was granted for ten years, the settle 
ments of the Spaniards at Nacadoches, Adais, Assinays, and 
Natchitoches, were fraudulently invited and connived at. Cro- 
zat's object was commerce, and especially contraband, with the 
Spaniards, and these posts were settled as convenient smuggling 
stages on the way to Mexico. The history bears such marks of 
authenticity as place it beyond question. Governor Claiborne 
obtained the MS. for us, and thinking it too hazardous to risk its 
loss by the way, unless a copy were retained, he had a copy 
taken. The original having arrived safe at Washington, he sent 
me the copy, which I now have. Is the original still in your 
office ? or was it among the papers burnt by the British ? If lost, 
I will send you my copy ; if preserved, it is my wish to deposit 
the copy for safe keeping with the Philosophical Society at 
Philadelphia, where it will be safer than on my shelves. I da 
not mean that any part of this letter shall give to yourself the 
trouble of an answer ; only desire Mr. Graham to see if the origi 
nal still exists in your office, and to drop me a line saying yea or 
nay ; and I shall know what to do. Indeed the MS. ought to 


be printed, and I see a note to my copy which shows it has been 
in contemplation, and that it was computed to be of twenty 
sheets at sixteen dollars a sheet, for three hundred and twenty 
copies, which would sell at one dollar apiece, and reimburse the 
expense. * * * 


MONTICELLO, Apr. 7, 16. 

GENTLEMEN, I received by our last mail only, your favor of 
Mar. 19, reminding me of a very ancient and very just debt to 
Messrs. Van Staphorsts, and which I ought certainly long ago to 
have replaced to them, unasked. But, engaged constantly in 
offices of more expence than compensation, our means are ever 
absorbed as soon as received by the needy who press, while the 
indulgent lie over for a moment of greater convenience. Yet 
ancient and just as is this debt, it presents itself at a moment 
when I am not prepared to meet it. I am a landholder, and de 
pend on the income of my farms. Three years of war & close 
blockade of the Chesapeak compleatly sunk the produce of those 
three years, and the year of peace which has followed has barely 
met arrearages and taxes. Commerce and free markets being 
now restored to us, we may count on the future with more cer 
tainty. I shall be able to pay off one of my bonds \torn\ at the 
date of a year from this time, and one other each year after until 
the three are discharged. I hope that this arrangement will be 
acceptable to Messrs. Van Staphorsts, and that their indulgence 
will not be withdrawn suddenly and all at once. With the for 
bearance I ask, I shall replace their money from annual income 
which I can spare, and be saved the regret of injuriously mutilat 
ing my landed property. It will give me great pleasure to learn 
that the measure of kindness hitherto shewn, will be filled up by 
so mucfr further forbearance, as will make it in the end, as it was 
in the beginning, a salutary accommodation. Accept the assur 
ances of my great esteem & respect. 1 

1 On August 15, 1816, Jefferson wrote to Leroy and Bayard. 

MONTICELLO, Aug. 15, 16. 
GENTLEMEN, Your favor of the 7th is received, and I shall endeavor to 



POPLAR FOREST, April 24, 1816. 

I received, my dear friend, your letter covering the constitution 
for your Equinoctial republics, just as I was setting out for this 
place. I brought it with me, and have read it with great satis 
faction. I suppose it well formed for those for whom it was in 
tended, and the excellence of every government is its adaptation 
to the state of those to be governed by it. For us it would not 
do. Distinguishing between the structure of the government and 
the moral principles on which you prescribe its administration, 
with the latter we concur cordially, with the former we should 
not. We of the United States, you know, are constitutionally 
and conscientiously democrats. We consider society as one of 
the natural wants with which man has been created ; that he has 
been endowed with faculties and qualities to effect its satisfaction 
by concurrence of others having the same want ; that when, by 
the exercise of these faculties, he has procured a state of society, 
it is one of his acquisitions which he has a right to regulate and 
control, jointly indeed with all those who have concurred in the 
procurement, whom he cannot exclude from its use or direction 
more than they him. We think experience has proved it safer, 
for the mass of individuals composing the society, to reserve 
to themselves personally the exercise of all rightful powers to 
which they are competent, and to delegate those to which they 
are not competent to deputies named, and removable for unfaith 
ful conduct, by themselves immediately. Hence, with us, the 
people (by which is meant the mass of individuals composing the 
society) being competent to judge of the facts occurring in ordi 
nary life, they have retained the functions of judges of facts, 
under the name of jurors ; but being unqualified for the manage 
ment of affairs requiring intelligence above the common level, 

comply as exactly as in my power with the instalments with which Messrs. Van 
Staphorsts are so kind as to indulge me. My resources are those of a farmer, 
depending on the produce of my farms, which is usually sold in April or May, 
but sometimes necessarily on some credit to avoid sacrificing it, which I am 
sure the kind motives of the loan would spare were these causes at any time to 
oblige me to overrun the exact day. Accept my thanks for your friendly in 
termediation in this business and the assurance of my great esteem and respect. 


yet competent judges of human character, they chose, for their 
management, representatives, some by themselves immediately, 
others by electors chosen by themselves. Thus our President is 
chosen by ourselves, directly in practice, for we vote for A as 
elector only on the condition he will vote for B, our representa 
tives by ourselves immediately, our Senate and judges of law 
through electors chosen by ourselves. And we believe that this 
proximate choice and power of removal is the best security which 
experience has sanctioned for ensuring an honest conduct in the 
functionaries of society. Your three or four alembications have 
indeed a seducing appearance. We should conceive primd facie, 
that the last extract would be the pure alcohol of the substance, 
three or four times rectified. But in proportion as they are more 
and more sublimated, they are also farther and farther removed 
from the control of the society ; and the human character, we 
believe, requires in general constant and immediate control, to 
prevent its being biased from right by the seductions of self-love. 
Your process produces therefore a structure of government from 
which the fundamental principle of ours is excluded. You first 
set down as zeros all individuals not having lands, which are 
the greater number in every society of long standing. Those 
holding lands are permitted to manage in person the small affairs 
of their commune or corporation, and to elect a deputy for the 
canton ; in which election, too, every one's vote is to be an unit, 
a plurality, or a fraction, in proportion to his landed possessions. 
The assemblies of cantons, then, elect for the districts ; those of 
districts for circles ; and those of circles for the national assem 
blies. Some of these highest councils, too, are in a considerable 
degree self-elected, the regency partially, the judiciary entirely, 
and some are for life. Whenever, therefore, an esprit de corps, 
or of party, gets possession of them, which experience shows to 
be inevitable, there are no means of breaking it up, for they will 
never elfcct but those of their own spirit. Juries are allowed in 
criminal cases only. I acknowledge myself strong in affection to 
our own form, yet both of us act and think from the same mo 
tive, we both consider the people as our children, and love them 
with parental affection. But you love them as infants whom you 
are afraid to trust without nurses ; and I as adults whom I freely 


leave to self-government. And you are right in the case referred 
to you ; my criticism being built on a state of society not under 
your contemplation. It is, in fact, like a critic on Homer by the 
laws of the Drama. 

But when we come to the moral principles on which the gov 
ernment is to be administered, we come to what is proper for all 
conditions of society. I meet you there in all the benevolence 
and rectitude of your native character ; and I love myself always 
most where I concur most with you. Liberty, truth, probity, 
honor, are declared to be the four cardinal principles of your 
society. I believe with you that morality, compassion, generosity, 
are innate elements of the human constitution ; that there exists 
a right independent of force ; that a right to property is founded 
in our natural wants, in the means with which we are endowed to 
satisfy these wants, and the right to what we acquire by those 
means without violating the similar rights of other sensible 
beings ; that no one has a right to obstruct another, exercising 
his faculties innocently for the relief of sensibilities made a part 
of his nature ; that justice is the fundamental law of society ; 
that the majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, 
abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest 
breaks up the foundations of society ; that action by the citizens 
in person, in affairs within their reach and competence, and in 
all others by representatives, chosen immediately, and removable 
by themselves, constitutes the essence of a republic ; that all 
governments are more or less republican in proportion as this 
principle enters more or less into their composition ; and that a 
government by representation is capable of extension over a 
greater surface of country than one of any other form These, 
my friend, are the essentials in which you and I agree ; however, 
in our zeal for their maintenance, we may be perplexed and di 
varicate, as to the structure of society most likely to secure them. 

In the constitution of Spain, as proposed by the late Cortes, 
there was a principle entirely new to me, and not noticed in 
yours, that no person, born after that day, should ever acquire 
the rights of citizenship until he could read and write. It is im 
possible sufficiently to estimate the wisdom of this provision. Of 
all those which have been thought of for securing fidelity in the 


administration of the government, constant ralliance $o the prin 
ciples of the constitution, and progressive amendments with the 
progressive advances of the human mind, or changes in human 
affairs, it is the most effectual. Enlighten the people generally, 
and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like 
evil spirits at the dawn of day. Although I do not, with some 
enthusiasts, believe that the human condition will ever advance 
to such a state of perfection as that there shall no longer be pain 
or vice in the world, yet I believe it susceptible of much improve 
ment, and most of all, in matters of government and religion ; 
and that the diffusion of knowledge among the people is to be 
the instrument by which it is to be effected. The constitution of 
the Cortes had defects enough ; but when I saw in it this amend 
atory provision, I was satisfied all would come right in time, 
under its salutary operation. No people have more need of a 
similar provision than those for whom you have felt so much 
interest. No mortal wishes them more success than I do. But 
if what I have heard of the ignorance and bigotry of the mass be 
true, I doubt their capacity to understand and to support a free 
government ; and fear that their emancipation from the foreign 
tyranny of Spain, will result in a military despotism at home. 
Palacios may be great ; others may be great ; but it is the multi 
tude which possess force : and wisdom must yield to that. For 
such a condition of society, the constitution you have devised is 
probably the best imaginable. It is certainly calculated to elicit 
the best talents ; although perhaps not well guarded against the 
egoism of its functionaries. But that egoism will be light in 
comparison with the pressure of a military despot, and his army 
of Janissaries. Like Solon to the Athenians, you have given to 
your Columbians, not the best possible government, but the best 
they can bear. By-the-bye, I wish you had called them the 
Columbian republics, to distinguish them from our American 
republics. Theirs would be the most honorable name, and they 
best entitled to it ; for Columbus discovered their continent, but 
never saw ours. 

To them liberty and happiness ; to you the meed of wisdom 
and goodness in teaching them how to attain them, with the 
affectionate respect and friendship of, 



MONTICELLO, May 19. 16. 

It gives me the greatest pain, dear Sir, to make a serious com 
plaint to you. From the letter which I wrote you on the 3d of 
Oct. 1813. an extract was published with my name, in the news 
papers, conveying a very just, but certainly a very harsh censure 
on Bonaparte. This produced to me more complaints from my best 
friends, and called for more explanations than any transaction of 
my life had ever done. They inferred from this partial extract an 
approbation of the conduct of England, which yet the same letter 
had censured with equal rigour. It produced too from the Minister 
of Bonaparte a complaint, not indeed formal, for I was but a pri 
vate citizen, but serious, of my volunteering with England in the 
abuse of his sovereign. It was incumbent on me to explain, by 
declaring to a member of the government that the extract was 
partial, and it's publication unauthorised. Notwithstanding the 
pain which this act had cost me, considering it on your part but 
as a mere inadvertence, on the receipt of your letter of Aug. 16. 
15. I wrote an answer of Oct. 13. & again on receipt of that of 
the 27th Ult. I had begun an answer, when the arrival of our 
mail put into my hands a newspaper containing at full length 
mine of Oct. 13. It became necessary then to ask myself seriously 
whether I meant to enter as a political champion in the field of 
the newspapers ? He who does this throws the gauntlet of chal 
lenge to every one who will take it up. It behoves him then to 
weigh maturely every sentiment, every fact, every sentence and 
syllable he commits to paper, and to be certain that he is ready 
with reason, and testimony to maintain every tittle before the tri 
bunal of the public. But this is not our purpose when we write 
to a friend. We are careless, incorrect, in haste, perhaps under 
some transient excitement, and we hazard things without reflec 
tion, because without consequence in the bosom of a friend. 
Perhaps it may be said that the letter of Oct. 15 contained nothing 
offensive to others, nothing which could injure myself. It con 
tained reprobation of the murders and desolations committed by 
the French nation, under their leader Bonaparte. It contained a 
condemnation of the allied powers for seizing and taking to them 
selves independent & unoffending countries, because too weak to 


defend themselves. In this they had done wrong, but was it my 
business to become the public accuser ? And to undertake be 
fore the world to renounce their iniquities ? And do you not 
think I had a right to decide this for myself ? And to say whether 
the sentiments I trusted to you were meant for the whole world ? 
I am sure that on reflection you will perceive that I ought to have 
been consulted. 

I might have manifested my dissatisfaction by a silent reserve 
of all answer. But this would have offered a blank, which might 
have been filled up with erroneous imputations of sentiment. I 
prefer candid and open expression. No change of good will to 
you, none in my estimate of your integrity or understanding, has 
taken place, except as to your particular opinion on the rights of 
correspondence : and I pray you especially to assure Mrs. Logan 
of my constant and affectionate esteem & attachment, the just 
tribute of a respect for the virtues of her heart & head. 1 


MONTICELLO, May 28, 1816. 

DEAR SIR, On my return from a long journey and considera 
ble absence from home, I found here the copy of your " Enquiry 
into the principles of our government," which you had been so 

1 Jefferson further wrote to Logan. 

MONTICELLO, June 20. 1816. 

Dear Sir, Your favor of the 5th is now received. I never doubted the 
purity of your intentions in the publications of which I complained ; but the 
correctness only of committing to the public a private correspondence not in 
tended for their eye. As to federal slanders, I never wished them to be answered, 
but by the tenor of my life, half a century of which has been on a theatre at 
which the public have been spectators, and competent judges of it's merit. 
Their approbation has taught a lesson, useful to the world, that the man who 
fears no truths has nothing to fear from lies. I should have fancied myself 
half guilty had I condescended to put pen to paper in refutation of their false 
hoods, or drawn to them respect by any notice from myself. But let all this 
be forgotten. Knowing now my repugnance to take any part in public discus 
sions, I shall be confident in future of being spared that pain, and avail myself 
freely of every occasion of renewing to Mrs. Logan and yourself the assurance 
of my sincere & friendly remembrance, respect and attachment. 


kind as to send me ; and for which I pray you to accept my 
thanks. The difficulties of getting new works in our situation, in 
land and without a single bookstore, are such as had prevented 
my obtaining a copy before ; and letters which had accumulated 
during my absence, and were calling for answers, have not yet 
permitted me to give to the whole a thorough reading ; yet cer 
tain that you and I could not think differently on the fundamen 
tals of rightful government, I was impatient, and availed myself 
of the intervals of repose from the writing table, to obtain a cur 
sory idea of the body of the work. 

I see in it much matter for profound reflection ; much which 
should confirm our adhesion, in practice, to the good principles 
of our constitution, and fix our attention on what is yet to be 
made good. The sixth section on the good moral principles of 
our government, I found so interesting and replete with sound 
principles, as to postpone my letter-writing to its thorough peru 
sal and consideration. Besides much other good matter, it set 
tles unanswerably the right of instructing representatives, and 
their duty to obey. The system of banking we have both 
equally and ever reprobated. I contemplate it as a blot left in 
all our constitutions, which, if not covered, will end in their de 
struction, which is already hit by the gamblers in corruption, and 
is sweeping away in its progress the fortunes and morals of our 
citizens. Funding I consider as limited, rightfully, to a redemp 
tion of the debt within the lives of a majority of the generation 
contracting it ; every generation coming equally, by the laws of 
the Creator of the world, to the free possession of the earth he 
made for their subsistence, unincumbered by their predecessors, 
who, like them, were but tenants for life. You have successfully 
and completely pulverized Mr. Adams' system of orders, and his 
opening the mantle of republicanism to every government of 
laws, whether consistent or not with natural right. Indeed, it 
must be acknowledged, that the term republic is of very vague 
application in every language. Witness the self-styled republics 
of Holland, Switzerland, Genoa, Venice, Poland. Were I to as 
sign to this term a precise and definite idea, I would say, purely 
and simply, it means a government by its citizens in mass, acting 
directly and personally, according to rules established by the ma- 


jority ; and that every other government is more or less repub 
lican, in proportion as it has in its composition more or less of 
this ingredient of the direct action of the citizens. Such a gov 
ernment is evidently restrained to very narrow limits of space 
and population. I doubt if it would be practicable beyond the 
extent of a New England township. The first shade from this 
pure element, which, like that of pure vital air, cannot sustain 
life of itself, would be where the powers of the government, being 
divided, should be exercised each by representatives chosen 
either pro hac vice, or for such short terms as should render secure 
the duty of expressing the will of their constituents. This I 
should consider as the nearest approach to a pure republic, 
which is practicable on a large scale of country or population. 
And we have examples of it in some of our State constitutions, 
which, if not poisoned by priest-craft, would prove its excellence 
over all mixtures with other elements ; and, with only equal 
doses of poison, would still be the best. Other shades of re 
publicanism may be found in other forms of government, where 
the executive, judiciary and legislative functions, and the differ 
ent branches of the latter, are chosen by the people more or less 
directly, for longer terms of years or for life, or made hereditary ; 
or where there are mixtures of authorities, some dependent on, 
and others independent of the people. The further the depart 
ure from direct and constant control by the citizens, the less has 
the government of the ingredient of republicanism ; evidently 
none where the authorities are hereditary, as in France, Venice, 
&c., or self-chosen, as in Holland ; and little, where for life, in 
proportion as the life continues in being after the act of election. 
The purest republican feature in the government of our own 
State, is the House of Representatives. The Senate is equally so 
the first year, less the second, and so on. The Executive still 
less, bemuse not chosen by the people directly. The Judiciary 
seriously anti-republican, because for life ; and the national arm 
wielded, as you observe, by military leaders, irresponsible but to 
themselves. Add to this the vicious constitution of our county 
courts (to whom the justice, the executive administration, the 
taxation, police, the military appointments of the county, and 
nearly all our daily concerns are confided), self-appointed, self- 


continued, holding their authorities for life, and with an impossi 
bility of breaking in on the perpetual succession of any faction 
once possessed of the bench. They are in truth, the executive, 
the judiciary, and the military of their respective counties, and 
the sum of the counties makes the State. And add, also, that one 
half of our brethren who fight and pay taxes, are excluded, like 
Helots, from the rights of representation, as if society were insti 
tuted for the soil, and not for the men inhabiting it ; or one half 
of these could dispose of the rights and the will of the other half, 
without their consent. 

" What constitutes a State ? 
Not high-raised battlements, or labor'd mound, 

Thick wall, or moated gate ; 
Not cities proud, with spires and turrets crown'd ; 

No : men, high minded men ; 

Men, who their duties know ; 
But know their rights ; and knowing, dare maintain. 

These constitute a State." 

In the General Government, the House of Representatives is 
mainly republican ; the Senate scarcely so at all, as not elected 
by the people directly, and so long secured even against those 
who do elect them ; the Executive more republican than the 
Senate, from its shorter term, its election by the people, in prac 
tice, (for they vote for A only on an assurance that he will vote for 
B,) and because, in practice also, a principle of rotation seems to 
be in a course of establishment ; the judiciary independent of 
the nation, their coercion by impeachment being found nugatory. 

If, then, the control of the people over the organs of their 
government be the measure of its republicanism, and I confess I 
know no other measure, it must be agreed that our governments 
have much less of republicanism than ought to have been ex 
pected ; in other words, that the people have less regular control 
over their agents, than their rights and their interests require. 
And this I ascribe, not to any want of republican dispositions in 
those who formed these constitutions, but to a submission of true 
principle to European authorities, to speculators on government, 
whose fears of the people have been inspired by the populace of 
their own great cities, and were unjustly entertained against the 


independent, the happy, and therefore orderly citizens 'of the 
United States. Much I apprehend that the golden moment is 
past for reforming these heresies. The functionaries of public 
power rarely strengthen in their dispositions to abridge it, and an 
unorganized call for timely amendment is not likely to prevail 
against an organized opposition to it. We are always told that 
things are going on well ; why change them ? " Chi sta bene, 
non si muove" said the Italian, " let him who stands well, stand 
still." This is true ; and I verily believe they would go on well 
with us under an absolute monarch, while our present character 
remains, of order, industry and love of peace, and restrained, as 
he would be, by the proper spirit of the people. But it is while 
it remains such, we should provide against the consequences of its 
deterioration. And let us rest in the hope that it will yet be done, 
and spare ourselves the pain of evils which may never happen. 

On this view of the import of the term republic, instead of say 
ing, as has been said, " that it may mean anything or nothing," 
we may say with truth and meaning, that governments are more 
or less republican as they have more or less of the element of 
popular election and control in their composition ; and believing, 
as I do, that the mass of the citizens is the safest depository of 
their own rights, and especially, that the evils flowing from the 
duperies of the people, are less injurious than those from the 
egoism of their agents, I am a friend to that composition of gov 
ernment which has in it the most of this ingredient. And I 
sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more 
dangerous than standing armies ; and that the principle of spend 
ing money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, 
is but swindling futurity on a large scale. 

I salute you with constant friendship and respect. 


MONTICELLO, June 7, 1816. 

DEAR SIR, I received a few days ago from Mr. Dupont the 
enclosed manuscript, with permission to read it, and a request, 
when read, to forward it to you, in expectation that you would 
translate it. It is well worthy of publication for the instruction 


of our citizens, being profound, sound, and short. Our legisla 
tors are not sufficiently apprized of the rightful limits of their 
power ; that their true office is to declare and enforce only our 
natural rights and duties, and to take none of them from us. No 
man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights 
of another ; and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain 
him ; every man is under the natural duty of contributing to the 
necessities of the society ; and this is all the laws should enforce 
on him ; and, no man having a natural right to be the judge 
between himself and another, it is his natural duty to submit to 
the umpirage of an impartial third. When the laws have de 
clared and enforced all this, they have fulfilled their functions, 
and the idea is quite unfounded, that on entering into society we 
give up any natural right. The trial of every law by one of 
these texts, would lessen much the labors of our legislators, and 
lighten equally our municipal codes. There is a work of the 
first order of merit now in the press at Washington, by Destutt 
Tracy, on the subject of political economy, which he brings into 
the compass of three hundred pages, octavo. In a preliminary 
discourse on the origin of the right of property, he coincides 
much with the principles of the present manuscript ; but is more 
developed, more demonstrative. He promises a future work on 
morals, in which I lament to see that he will adopt the princi 
ples of Hobbes, or humiliation to human nature ; that the sense 
of justice and injustice is not derived from our natural organ 
ization, but founded on convention only. I lament this the 
more, as he is unquestionably the ablest writer living, on abstract 
subjects. Assuming the fact, that the earth has been created in 
time, and consequently the dogma of final causes, we yield, of 
course to this short syllogism. Man was created for social 
intercourse ; but social intercourse cannot be maintained with 
out a sense of justice ; then man must have been created with a 
sense of justice. There is an error into which most of the specu 
lators on government have fallen, and which the well-known state 
of society of our Indians ought, before now, to have corrected. 
In their hypothesis of the origin of government, they suppose it 
to have commenced in the patriarchal or monarchical form. Our 
Indians are evidently in that state of nature which has passed 


the association of a single family ; and not yet submitted to the 
authority of positive laws, or of any acknowledged magistrate. 
Every man, with them, is perfectly free to follow his own inclina 
tions. But if, in doing this, he violates the rights of another, 
if the case be slight, he is punished by the disesteem of his so 
ciety, or, as we say, by public opinion ; if serious, he is toma 
hawked as a dangerous enemy. Their leaders conduct them by 
the influence of their character only ; and they follow, or not, 
as they please, him of whose character for wisdom or war they 
have the highest opinion. Hence the origin of the parties 
among them adhering to different leaders, and governed by their 
advice, not by their command. The Cherokees, the only tribe 
I know to be contemplating the establishment of regular laws, 
magistrates, and government, propose a government of represen 
tatives, elected from every town. But of all things, they least 
think of subjecting themselves to the will of one man. This, 
the only instance of actual fact within our knowledge, will be then 
a beginning by republican, and not by patriarchal or monarchi 
cal government, as speculative writers have generally conjectured. 
We have to join in mutual congratulations on the appointment 
of our friend Correa, to be minister or envoy of Portugal, here. 
This, I hope, will give him to us for life. Nor will it at all inter 
fere with his botanical rambles or journeys. The government of 
Portugal is so peaceable and inoffensive, that it has never any al 
tercations with its friends. If their minister abroad writes them 
once a quarter that all is well, they desire no more. I learn, 
(though not from Correa himself,) that he thinks of paying us a 
visit as soon as he is through his course of lectures. Not to lose 
this happiness again by my absence, I have informed him I shall 
set out for Poplar Forest the 20th instant, and be back the first 
week of^uly. I wish you and he could concert your movements 
so as to meet here, and that you would make this your head 
quarters. It is a good central point from which to visit your con 
nections ; and you know our practice of placing our guests at 
their ease, by showing them we are so ourselves and that we fol 
low our necessary vocations, instead of fatiguing them by hanging 
unremittingly on their shoulders. I salute you with affectionate 
esteem and respect. 

VOL. X. 3 



MONTICELLO, June 20, 1816. 

DEAR SIR, I am about to sin against all discretion, and know 
ingly, by adding to the drudgery of your letter-reading, this ac 
knowledgment of the receipt of your favor of May the 3ist, with 
the papers it covered. I cannot, however, deny myself the grati 
fication of expressing the satisfaction I have received, not only 
from the general statement of affairs at Paris, in yours of Decem 
ber the i zth, 1814, (as a matter of history which I had not be 
fore received,) but most especially and superlatively, from the 
perusal of your letter of the 8th of the same month to Mr. Fisk, 
on the subject of draw-backs. This most heterogeneous prin 
ciple was transplanted into ours from the British system, by a 
man whose mind was really powerful, but chained by native par 
tialities to everything English ; who had formed exaggerated 
ideas of the superior perfection of the English constitution, the 
superior wisdom of their government, and sincerely believed it 
for the good of this country to make them their model in every 
thing ; without considering that what might be wise and good 
for a nation essentially commercial, and entangled in complicated 
intercourse with numerous and powerful neighbors, might not be 
so for one essentially agricultural, and insulated by nature from 
the abusive governments of the old world. 

The exercise, by our own citizens, of so much commerce as 
may suffice to exchange our superfluities for our wants, may be 
advantageous for the whole. But it does not follow, that with a 
territory so boundless, it is the interest of the whole to become a 
mere city of London, to carry on the business of one half the 
world at the expense of eternal war with the other half. The 
agricultural capacities of our country constitute its distinguishing 
feature ; and the adapting our policy and pursuits to that, is more 
likely to make us a numerous and happy people, than the mimicry 
of an Amsterdam, a Hamburgh, or a city of London. Every so 
ciety has a right to fix the fundamental principles of its association, 
and to say to all individuals, that, if they contemplate pursuits 
beyond the limits of these principles, and involving dangers 
which the society chooses to avoid, they must go somewhere else 


for their exercise ; that we want no citizens, and still less ephem 
eral and pseudo-citizens, on such terms. We may exclude them 
from our territory, as we do persons infected with disease. Such 
is the situation of our country. We have most abundant re 
sources of happiness within ourselves, which we may enjoy in 
peace and safety, without permitting a few citizens, infected with 
the mania of rambling and gambling, to bring danger on the 
great mass engaged in innocent and safe pursuits at home. In 
your letter to Fisk, you have fairly stated the alternatives be 
tween which we are to choose : i, licentious commerce and 
gambling speculations for a few, with eternal war for the many ; 
or, 2, restricted commerce, peace, and steady occupations for all. 
If any State in the Union will declare that it prefers separation 
with the first alternative, to a continuance in union without it, I 
have no hesitation in saying, " let us separate." I would rather 
the States should withdraw, which are for unlimited commerce 
and war, and confederate with those alone which are for peace 
and agriculture. I know that every nation in Europe would join 
in sincere amity with the latter, and hold the former at arm's 
length, by jealousies, prohibitions, restrictions, vexations and 
war. No earthly consideration could induce my consent to con 
tract such a debt as England has by her wars for commerce, to 
reduce our citizens by taxes to such wretchedness, as that labor 
ing sixteen of the twenty-four hours, they are still unable to af 
ford themselves bread, or barely to earn as much oatmeal or 
potatoes as will keep soul and body together. And all this to 
feed the avidity of a few millionary merchants, and to keep up 
one thousand ships of war for the protection of their commercial 
speculations. I returned from Europe after our government had 
got under way, and had adopted from the British code the law 
of draw-backs. I early saw its effects in the jealousies and 
vexations of Britain ; and that, retaining it, we must become like 
her an essentially warring nation, and meet, in the end, the catas 
trophe impending over her. No one can doubt that this alone 
produced the orders of council, the depredations which preceded, 
and the war which followed them. Had we carried but our own 
produce, and brought back but our own wants, no nation would 
have troubled us. Our commercial dashers, then, have already 


cost us so many thousand lives, so many millions of dollars, more 
than their persons and all their commerce were worth. When 
war was declared, and especially after Massachusetts, who had 
produced it, took side with the enemy waging it, I pressed on 
some confidential friends in Congress to avail us of the happy op 
portunity of repealing the draw-back ; and I do rejoice to find 
that you are in that sentiment. You are young, and may be in 
the way of bringing it into effect. Perhaps time, even yet, and 
change of tone, (for there are symptoms of that in Massachusetts,) 
may not have obliterated altogether the sense of our late feelings 
and sufferings ; may not have induced oblivion of the friends we 
have lost, the depredations and conflagrations we have suffered, 
and the debts we have incurred, and have to labor for through 
the lives of the present generation. The earlier the repeal is pro 
posed, the more it will be befriended by all these recollections 
and considerations. This is one of three great measures neces 
sary to insure us permanent prosperity. This preserves our 
peace. A second should enable us to meet any war, by adopting 
the report of the war department, for placing the force of the na 
tion at effectual command ; and a third should insure resources 
of money by the suppression of all paper circulation during peace, 
and licensing that of the nation alone during war. The metallic 
medium of which we should be possessed at the commencement 
of a war, would be a sufficient fund for all the loans we should 
need through its continuance ; and if the national bills issued, be 
bottomed (as is indespensable) on pledges of specific taxes for 
their redemption within certain and moderate epochs, and be of 
proper denominations for circulation, no interest on them would 
be necessary or just, because they would answer to every one the 
purposes of the metallic money withdrawn and replaced by them. 
But possibly these may be the dreams of an old man, or that 
the occasions of realizing them may have passed away without 
return. A government regulating itself by what is wise and just 
for the many, uninfluenced by the local and selfish views of the 
few who direct their affairs, has not been seen perhaps, on earth. 
Or if it existed, for a moment, at the birth of ours, it would not 
be easy to fix the term of its continuance. Still, I believe it does 
exist here in a greater degree than anywhere else ; and for its 


growth and continuance, as well as for your personal health and 
happiness, I offer sincere prayers, with the homage of ray respect 
and esteem. 


MONTICELLO, July 12, i8i6. 

SIR, I duly received your favor of June the 13th, with the 
copy of the letters on the calling a convention, on which you are 
pleased to ask my opinion. I have not been in the habit of 
mysterious reserve on any subject, nor of buttoning up my opin 
ions within my own doublet. On the contrary, while in public 
service especially, I thought the public entitled to frankness, and 
intimately to know whom they employed. But I am now re 
tired : I resign myself, as a passenger, with confidence to those 
at present at the helm, and ask but for rest, peace and good will. 
The question you propose, on equal representation, has become a 
party one, in which I wish to take no public share. Yet, if it be 
asked for your own satisfaction only, and not to be quoted before 
the public, I have no motive to withhold it, and the less from 
you, as it coincides with your own. At the birth of our repub 
lic, I committed that opinion to the world, in the draught of a 
constitution annexed to the " Notes on Virginia," in which a pro 
vision was inserted for a representation permanently equal. The 
infancy of the subject at that moment, and our inexperience of 
self-government, occasioned gross departures in that draught from 
genuine republican canons. In truth, the abuses of monarchy 
had so much filled all the space of political contemplation, that 
we imagVied everything republican which was not monarchy. 
We had not yet penetrated to the mother principle, that " govern 
ments are republican only in proportion as they embody the will 
of their people, and execute it." Hence, our first constitutions 
had really no leading principles in them. But experience and 
reflection have but more and more confirmed me in the particular 
importance of the equal representation then proposed. On that 
point, then, I am entirely in sentiment with your letters ; and 
only lament that a copy-right of your pamphlet prevents their 
appearance in the newspapers, where alone they would be gen- 


erally read, and produce general effect. The present vacancy 
too, of other matter, would give them place in every paper, and 
bring the question home to every man's conscience. 

But inequality of representation in both Houses of our legisla 
ture, is not the only republican heresy in this first essay of our 
revolutionary patriots at forming a constitution. For let it be 
agreed that a government is republican in proportion as every 
member composing it has his equal voice in the direction of its 
concerns (not indeed in person, which would be impracticable 
beyond the limits of a city, or small township, but) by represen 
tatives chosen by himself, and responsible to him at short periods, 
and let us bring to the test of this canon every branch of our 

In the legislature, the House of Representatives is chosen by 
less than half the people, and not at all in proportion to those 
who do choose. The Senate are still more disproportionate, and 
for long terms of irresponsibility. In the Executive, the Governor 
is entirely independent of the choice of the people, and of their 
control ; his Council equally so, and at best but a fifth wheel to a 
wagon. In the Judiciary, the judges of the highest courts are 
dependent on none but themselves. In England, where judges 
were named and removable at the will of an hereditary executive, 
from which branch most misrule was feared, and has flowed, it 
was a great point gained, by fixing them for life, to make them 
independent of that executive. But in a government founded on 
the public will, this principle operates in an opposite direction, 
and against that will. There, too, they were still removable on 
a concurrence of the executive and legislative branches. But we 
have made them independent of the nation itself. They are 
irremovable, but by their own body, for any depravities of con 
duct, and even by their own body for the imbecilities of dotage. 
The justices of the inferior courts are self-chosen, are for life, 
and perpetuate their own body in succession forever, so that a 
faction once possessing themselves of the bench of a county, can 
never be broken up, but hold their county in chains, forever indis 
soluble. Yet these justices are the real executive as well as judi 
ciary, in all our minor and most ordinary concerns. They tax 
us at will ; fill the office of sheriff, the most important of all the 


executive officers of the county ; name nearly all our military 
leaders, which leaders, once named, are removable but by them 
selves. The juries, our judges of all fact, and of law when they 
choose it, are not selected by the people, nor amenable to them. 
They are chosen by an officer named by the court and executive. 
Chosen, did I say ? Picked up by the sheriff from the loungings 
of the court yard, after everything respectable has retired from it. 
Where then is our republicanism to be found ? Not in our con 
stitution certainly, but merely in the spirit of our people. That 
would oblige even a despot to govern us republicanly. Owing 
to this spirit, and to nothing in the form of our constitution, all 
things have gone well. But this fact, so triumphantly misquoted 
by the enemies of reformation, is not the fruit of our constitution, 
but has prevailed in spite of it. Our functionaries have done 
well, because generally honest men. If any were not so, they 
feared to show it. 

But it will be said, it is easier to find faults than to amend 
them. I do not think their amendment so difficult as is pre 
tended. Only lay down true principles, and adhere to them in 
flexibly. Do not be frightened into their surrender by the alarms 
of the timid, or the croakings of wealth against the ascendency 
of the people. If experience be called for, appeal to that of our 
fifteen or twenty governments for forty years, and show me 
where the people have done half the mischief in these forty years, 
that a single despot would have done in a single year ; or show 
half the riots and rebellions, the crimes and the punishments, 
which have taken place in any single nation, under kingly gov 
ernment during the same period. The true foundation of repub 
lican government is the equal right of every citizen, in his person 
and property, and in their management. Try by this, as a tally, 
every provision of our constitution, and see if it hangs directly on 
the will of the people. Reduce your legislature to a convenient 
number for full, but orderly discussion. Let every man who 
fights or pays, exercise his just and equal right in their election. 
Submit them to approbation or rejection at short intervals. Let 
the executive be chosen in the same way, and for the same term, 
by those whose agent he is to be ; and leave no screen of a coun 
cil behind which to skulk from responsibility. It has been thought 


that the people are not competent electors of judges learned in 
the law. But I do not know that this is true, and, if doubtful, we 
should follow principle. In this, as in many other elections, 
they would be guided by reputation, which would not err oftener, 
perhaps, than the present mode of appointment. In one State 
of the Union, at least, it has long been tried, and with the most 
satisfactory success. The judges of Connecticut have been 
chosen by the people every six months, for nearly two centuries, 
and I believe there has hardly ever been an instance of change ; 
so powerful is the curb of incessant responsibility. If prejudice, 
however, derived from a monarchichal institution, is still to pre 
vail against the vital elective principle of our own, and if the ex 
isting example among ourselves of periodical election of judges 
by the people be still mistrusted, let us at least not adopt the 
evil, and reject the good, of the English precedent ; let us retain 
amovability on the concurrence of the executive and legislative 
branches, and nomination by the executive alone. Nomination 
to office is an executive function. To give it to the legislature, 
as we do, is a violation of the principle of the separation of powers. 
It swerves the members from correctness, by temptations to in 
trigue for office themselves, and to a corrupt barter of votes ; and 
destroys responsibility by dividing it among a multitude. By 
leaving nomination in its proper place, among executive func 
tions, the principle of the distribution of power is preserved, and 
responsibility weighs with its heaviest force on a single head. 

The organization of our county administrations may be thought 
more difficult. But follow principle, and the knot unties itself. 
Divide the counties into wards of such size as that every citizen 
can attend, when called on, and act in person. Ascribe to them 
the government of their wards in all things relating to themselves 
exclusively. A justice, chosen by themselves, in each, a con 
stable, a military company, a patrol, a school, the care of their 
own poor, their own portion of the public roads, the choice of 
one or more jurors to serve in some court, and the delivery, 
within their own wards, of their own votes for all elective officers 
of higher sphere, will relieve the county administration of nearly 
all its business, will have it better done, and by making every 
citizen an acting member of the government, and in the offices 


nearest and most interesting to him, will attach him by his strong 
est feelings to the independence of his country, and its republican 
constitution. The justices thus chosen by every ward, would 
constitute the county court, would do its judiciary business, di 
rect roads and bridges, levy county and poor rates, and administer 
all the matters of common interest to the whole country. These 
wards, called townships in New England, are the vital principle 
of their governments, and have proved themselves the wisest in 
vention ever devised by the wit of man for the perfect exercise of 
self-government, and for its preservation. We should thus mar 
shal our government into, i, the general federal republic, for all 
concerns foreign and federal : 2, that of the State, for what relates 
to our own citizens exclusively ; 3, the county republics, for the 
duties and concerns of the county ; and 4, the ward republics, 
for the small, and yet numerous and interesting concerns of the 
neighborhood ; and in government, as well as in every other busi 
ness of life, it is by division and subdivison of duties alone, that 
all matters, great and small, can be managed to perfection. And 
the whole is cemented by giving to every citizen, personally, a 
part in the administration of the public affairs. 

The sum of these amendments is, i. General Suffrage. 2. 
Equal representation in the legislature. 3. An executive chosen 
by the people. 4. Judges elective or amovable. 5. Justices, 
jurors, and sheriffs elective. 6. Ward divisions. And 7. Peri 
odical amendments of the constitution. 

I have thrown out these as loose heads of amendment, for con 
sideration and correction ; and their object is to secure self-gov 
ernment c>y the republicanism of our constitution, as well as by 
the spirit of the people ; and to nourish and perpetuate that 
spirit. I am not among those who fear the people. They, and 
not the rich, are our dependence for continued freedom. And to 
preserve their independence, we must not let our rulers load us 
with perpetual debt. We must make our election between econ 
omy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we run into 
such debts, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our 
drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our 
amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of 
England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen 


hours in the twenty-four, give the earnings of fifteen of these to 
the government for their debts and daily expenses ; and the six 
teenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they 
now do, on oatmeal and potatoes ; have no time to think, no 
means of calling the mismanagers to account ; but be glad to ob 
tain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the 
necks of our fellow-sufferers. Our landholders, too, like theirs, re 
taining indeed the title and stewardship of estates called theirs, but 
held really in trust for the treasury, must wander, like theirs, 
in foreign countries, and be contented with penury, obscurity, 
exile, and the glory of the nation. This example reads to us the 
salutary lesson, that private fortunes are destroyed by public as 
well as by private extravagance. And this is the tendency of all 
human governments. A departure from principle in one instance 
becomes a precedent for a second ; that second for a third ; 
and so on, till the bulk of the society is reduced to be mere au 
tomatons of misery, and to have no sensibilities left but for sin 
ning and suffering. Then begins, indeed, the helium omnium in 
omnia, which some philosophers observing to be so general in this 
world, have mistaken it for the natural, instead of the abusive 
state of man. And the fore horse of this frightful team is public 
debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and 

Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, 
and deem them like the arc of the covenant, too sacred to be 
touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom 
more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond 
amendment. I knew that age well ; I belonged to it, and labored 
with it. It deserved well of its country. It was very like the 
present, but without the experience of the present ; and forty 
years of experience in government is worth a century of book- 
reading ; and this they would say themselves, were they to rise 
from the dead. I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and 
untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate im 
perfections had better be borne with ; because, when once known, 
we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of 
correcting their ill effects. But I know also, that laws and insti 
tutions must go hand in hand with the progress, of the human 


mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as 
new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and 
opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions 
must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as 
well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a 
boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their 
barbarous ancestors. It is this preposterous idea which has lately 
deluged Europe in blood. Their monarchs, instead of wisely 
yielding to the gradual change of circumstances, of favoring pro 
gressive accommodation to progressive improvement, have clung 
to old abuses, entrenched themselves behind steady habits, and 
obliged their subjects to seek through blood and violence rash 
and ruinous innovations, which, had they been referred to the 
peaceful deliberations and collected wisdom of the nation, would 
have been put into acceptable and salutary forms. Let us follow 
no such examples, nor weakly believe that one generation is not 
as capable as another of taking care of itself, and of ordering its 
own affairs. Let us, as our sister States have done, avail our 
selves of our reason and experience, to correct the crude essays 
of our first and unexperienced, although wise, virtuous, and well- 
meaning councils. And lastly, let us provide in our constitution 
for its revision at stated periods. What these periods should be, 
nature herself indicates. By the European tables of mortality, 
of the adults living at any one moment of time, a majority will be 
dead in about nineteen years. At the end of that period, then, a 
new majority is come into place ; or, in other words, a new gener 
ation. Each generation is as independent as the one preceding, 
as that was of all which had gone before. It has then, like them, 
a right to choose for itself the form of government it believes 
most promotive of its own happiness ; consequently, to accommo 
date to the circumstances in which it finds itself, that received 
from its predecessors ; and it is for the peace and good of man 
kind, that a solemn opportunity of doing this every nineteen or 
twenty years, should be provided by the constitution ; so that it 
may be handed on, with periodical repairs, from generation to 
generation, to the ',-nd of time, if anything human can so long en 
dure. It is now f jrty years since the constitution of Virginia was 
formed. The sa.Tie tables inform us, that, within that period, 


two-thirds of the adults then living are now dead. Have then 
the remaining third, even if they had the wish, the right to hold 
in obedience to their will, and to laws heretofore made by them, 
the other two-thirds, who, with themselves, compose the present 
mass of adults ? If they have not, who has ? The dead ? But 
the dead have no rights. They are nothing ; and nothing cannot 
own something. Where there is no substance, there can be no 
accident. This corporeal globe, and everything upon it, belong 
to its present corporeal inhabitants, during their generation. 
They alone have a right to direct what is the concern of them 
selves alone, and to declare the law of that direction ; and this 
declaration can only be made by their majority. That majority, 
then, has a right to depute representatives to a convention, and to 
make the constitution what they think will be the best for them 
selves. But how collect their voice ? This is the real difficulty. 
If invited by private authority, or county or district meetings, 
these divisions are so large that few will attend ; and their voice 
will be imperfectly, or falsely pronounced. Here, then, would be 
one of the advantages of the ward divisions I have proposed. 
The mayor of every ward, on a question like the present, would 
call his ward together, take the simple yea or nay of its members, 
convey these to the county court, who would hand on those of all 
its wards to the proper general authority ; and the voice of the 
whole people would be thus fairly, fully, and peaceably expressed, 
discussed, and decided by the common reason of the society. If 
this avenue be shut to the call of sufferance, it will make itself 
heard through that of force, and we shall go on, as other nations 
are doing, in the endless circle of oppression, rebellion, reforma 
tion ; and oppression, rebellion, reformation, again ; and so on 

These, Sir, are my opinions of the governments we see among 
men, and of the principles by which alone we may prevent our 
own from falling into the same dreadful track. I have given 
them at greater length than your letter called for. But I cannot 
say things by halves ; and I confide them to your honor, so to 
use them as to preserve me from the gridiron c f the public papers. 
If you shall approve and enforce them, as you have done that of 
equal representation, they may do some good. If not, keep them 


to yourself as the effusions of withered age and useless time. I 
shall, with not the less truth, assure you of my great respect and 
consideration. 1 

1 On this same subject Jefferson wrote to Kercheval the following two 
letters : 

MONTICELLO, September 5, 1816. 

SIR, Your letter of August the i6th is just received. That which I wrote to 
you under the address of H. Tompkinson, was intended for the author of the 
pamphlet you were so kind as to send me, and therefore, in your hands, found 
its true destination. But I must beseech you, Sir, not to admit a possibility of 
its being published. Many good people will revolt from its doctrines, and my 
wish is to offend nobody ; to leave to those who are to live under it, the settle 
ment of their own constitution, and to pass in peace the remainder of my time. 
If those opinions are sound, they will occur to others, and will prevail by their 
own weight, without the aid of names. I am glad to see that the Staunton 
meeting has rejected the idea of a limited convention. The article, however, 
nearest my heart, is the division of counties into wards. These will be pure 
and elementary republics, the sum of all which, taken together, composes the 
State, and will make of the whole a true democracy as to the business of the 
wards, which is that of nearest and daily concern. The affairs of the larger 
sections, of counties, of States, and of the Union, not admitting personal trans 
action by the people, will be delegated to agents elected by themselves ; and 
representation will thus be substituted, where personal action becomes imprac 
ticable. Yet, even over these representative organs, should they become cor 
rupt and perverted, the division into wards constituting the people, in their 
wards, a regularly organized power, enables them by that organization to 
crush, regularly and peaceably, the usurpations of their unfaithful agents, and 
rescues them from the dreadful necessity of doing it insurrectionally. In this 
way we shall be as republican as a large society can be ; and secure the contin 
uance of purity in our government, by the salutary, peaceable, and regular con 
trol of the people. No other depositories of power have ever yet been found, 
which did no* end in converting to their own profit the earnings of those com 
mitted to their charge. George the III. in execution of the trust confided to 
him, has, within his own day, loaded the inhabitants of Great Britain with 
debts equal to the whole fee-simple value of their island, and under pretext of 
governing it, has alienated its whole soil to creditors who could lend money to 
be lavished on priests, pensions, plunder and perpetual war. This would not 
have been so, had the people retained organized means of acting on their 
agents. In this example, then, let us read a lesson for ourselves, and not "go 
and do likewise." 

Since writing my letter of July the I2th, I have been told, that on the ques 
tion of equal representation, our fellow citizens in some sections of the State 
claim peremptorily a right of representation for their slaves. Principle will, in 
this, as in most other cases, open the way for us to correct conclusion. Were 



MONTICELLO, July 18, 16. 

DEAR SIR, Your letter of Mar. 20. & Apr. 15. are both re 
ceived. The former only a week ago. They brought me the first 
information of the death of my antient friend Mazzei, which I learn 
with sincere regret. He had some peculiarities, & who of us has 
not ? But he was of solid worth ; honest, able, zealous in sound 
principles Moral & political, constant in friendship, and punctual 
in all his undertakings. He was greatly esteemed in this country, 
and some one has inserted in our papers an account of his death, 
with a handsome and just eulogy of him, and a proposition to pub 
lish his life in one 8vo. volume. I have no doubt but that what he 
has written of himself during the portion of the revolutionary 

our State a pure democracy, in which all its inhabitants should meet together 
to transact all their business, there would yet be excluded from their delibera 
tions, I, infants, until arrived at years of discretion. 2. Women, who, to pre 
vent depravation of morals and ambiguity of issue, could not mix promiscuously 
in the public meetings of men. 3. Slaves, from whom the unfortunate state of 
things with us takes away the right of will and of property. Those then who 
have no will could be permitted to exercise none in the popular assembly ; and 
of course, could delegate none to an agent in a representative assembly. The 
business, in the first case, would be done by qualified citizens only. It is true, 
that in the general constitution, our State is allowed a larger representation on 
account of its slaves. But every one knows, that that constitution was a matter 
of compromise ; a capitulation between conflicting interests and opinions. In 
truth, the condition of different descriptions of inhabitants in any country is a 
matter of municipal arrangement, of which no foreign country has a right to 
take notice. All its inhabitants are men as to them. Thus, in the New Eng 
land States, none have the powers of citizens but those whom they call free 
men ; and none are freemen until admitted by a vote of the freemen of the 
town. Yet, in the General Goverment, these non-freemen are counted in their 
quantum of representation and of taxation. So, slaves with us have no powers 
as citizens ; yet, in representation in the General Government, they count in the 
proportion of three to five ; and so also in taxation. Whether this is equal, is 
not here the question. It is a capitulation of discordant sentiments and circum 
stances, and is obligatory on that ground. But this view shows there is no in 
consistency in claiming representation for them for the other States, and refusing 
it within our own. Accept the renewal of assurances of my respect. 

MONTICELLO, Oct. 8, 16. 

SIR, A friend in your part of the country informs me that he has seen, in 
pretty free circulation, a letter from me to yourself on the subject of a Con- 


period he passed with us, would furnish some good material for 
our history of which there is already a wonderful scarcity. But 
where this undertaker of his history is to get his materials, I know 
not, nor who he is. 

I have received Mr. Carmigniani's letter requesting the remit 
tance of his money in my hands. How and when this can be 
done I have written him in the inclosed letter, which I leave open 
for your perusal ; after which be so good as to stick a wafer in it, 
& have it delivered. I had just begun a letter to Mazzei, ex 
cusing to him the non-remittance the present year, as requested 
thro' you by his family. And I should have stated to him with 
good faith, that the war-taxes of the last year, almost equal to the 
amount of our whole income, and a season among the most un 
favorable to agriculture ever known made it a year of war as to 
it's pressure, & obliged me to postpone the commencement of the 
annual remittances until the ensuing spring. The receipt of your 

vention, that it was in the hands of a printer, that he had heard several speak 
of having seen it, and the idea was that it was refused to none who asked for it. 
I cannot but be alarmed at this information. My letter of July 12. was ex 
pressly confided to your honor, to be so used as to be kept from the public 
papers ; and that of Sep. 5. further pressed my request that you would not ad 
mit it a possibilty of it 's being published. I did expect and had no objections, 
that you should be at liberty to communicate it 's contents to particular friends 
in whom you had confidence ; but not that you would permit it to go out of 
your own hands, still less into those of a printer, to be shewn to every one, 
perhaps to be copied and finally published. I must, Sir, reiterate my prayers 
to you to recall the original, and the copies, if any have been taken. The 
question of a Convention is become a party one with which I shall not inter 
meddle. I am willing to live under the constitution, as it is, if a majority of 
my fellow- citizens prefer it ; altho' I think it might be made better, and, for 
the sake of "uture generations (when principles shall have become too relaxed 
to permit amendment, as experience proves to be the constant course of things) 
I wished to have availed them of the virtues of the present time to put into a 
chaste & secure form, the government to be handed down to them. But I re 
peat that if a majority of my fellow-citizens are contented with what will last 
their time, I am so also, and with the more reason as mine is nearly out. I 
again throw the quiet of my life on your honor, and repeat the assurances of 
my respect. 

P.S. On revisal of my letter of Sep. 5. I discover an error which be pleased 
to correct with the pen, by striking out of the 5th line from the close, the words 
' as 5 ' and inserting ' so also.' 


letter, and of Mr. Carmigniani's only rendered it necessary to 
change the address of mine. The sale was made during the war, 
when the remittance of the price was impossible : nor was there 
here any depot for it at that time which would have been safe, 
profitable, and ready to repay the principal on demand. I re 
tained it therefore myself to avoid the risk of the banks, to yield 
the profit the treasury could have given, and to admit a command 
of the principal at a shorter term. It was of course, therefore 
that I must invest it in some way to countervail the interest, and 
being but a farmer receiving rents and profits but once a year, it 
will take time to restore it to the form of money again, which I 
explained to Mr. Mazzei in the letter I wrote to him at the time. 
Exchange is much against us at present, owing to the immense 
importations made immediately after peace, and to the redundancy 
of our paper medium. The legislatures have generally required 
the banks to call in this redundancy. They are accordingly cur 
tailing discounts, & collecting their debts, so that by the spring, 
when the first remittance will be made, our medium will be greatly 
reduced, and it's value increased proportionably. The crop of 
this year too, when exported will so far lessen the foreign debt & 
the demand for bills of exchange. These circumstances taken 
together promise a good reduction in the rate of exchange, which 
you can more fully explain in conversation to Mr. Carmigniani. 

I am happy to inform you that the administrator of Mr. Bel 
lini has at length settled his account, and deposited the balance 
635. Dollars 48 cents in the bank of Virginia, at Richmond. I 
think it the safest bank in the U. S. and it has been for some 
time so prudently preparing itself for cash payments, as to inspire 
a good degree of confidence, & moreover I shall keep my eye on 
it, but the money while there bears no interest ; and I did not 
chuse to take it myself on interest reimbursable on demand. It 
would be well then that Mr. Fancelli should withdraw it as soon 
as he can ; his draught on me shall be answered at sight to the 
holder, by one on the bank. In the present state of our exchange, 
& the really critical standing of our merchants at this time, I have 
been afraid to undertake it's remittance, because it could only be 
done by a bill of some merchant here on his correspondent in 
England, and both places are at this time a little suspicious. I 


know nothing so deplorable as the present condition of the 
inhabitants of Europe and do not wonder therefore at their 
desire to come to this country. Laborers in any of the arts 
would find abundant employ in this state at 100. D. a year & their 
board and lodging. And indeed if a sober good humored man 
understanding the vineyard & kitchen garden would come to me 
on those terms, bound to serve 4. years, I would advance his pas 
sage on his arrival, setting it off against his subsequent wages. 
But he must come to the port of Norfolk or Richmond, & no 
where else. If such a one should occur to you, you would oblige 
me by sending him. I remark the temporary difficulty you 
mention of obtaining good Montepulciano, and prefer waiting for 
that, when to be had, to a quicker supply of any other kind which 
might not so certainly suit our taste. It might not be amiss 
perhaps to substitute a bottle or two as samples of any other 
wines which would bear the voyage, and be of a quality and price 
to recommend them. You know we like dry wines, or at any rate 
not more than sillery. I salute you with constant friendship and 
respect. 1 

1 On the subject of this business matter Jefferson further wrote to Giovanni 


SIR, Within these few days I have received your favor of April 7, with 
certificates of the death of my estimable friend Philip Mazzei, and a copy of 
his Will. I learn this event with great affliction, altho' his advanced age had 
given reason to apprehend it. An intimacy of 40. years had proved to me his 
great worth, and a friendship which had begun in personal acquaintance, was 
maintained after separation, without abatement by a constant interchange of 
letters. His esteem too in this country was very general ; his early & zealous 
cooperation in the establishment of our independance having acquired for him 
here a great degree of favor. 

Having left under my care the property which he had not been able to dis 
pose of and to carry with him to Europe, it is some years since I had been able 
to settle all his affairs here, and to have the whole proceeds remitted to him, 
except for his house and lot in Richmond. This being in the possession of 
another, a course of law became necessary to recover it, and after the recovery, 
it was sometime before it could be disposed of at a reasonable price. Very 
favourable circumstances however occurring at length, I was enabled to get for 
it a sum very far beyond what had ever been expected or asked. This was in 
the time of our late war with England while a close blockade of our harbors cut 
off all commercial intercourse with Europe, and rendered a remittance of the 

VOL. X. 4 



MONTICELLO, July 21. 16. 

DEAR SIR, Yours of the loth is received, and I have to ac- 
knolege a copious supply of the turnip seed requested. Besides 
taking care myself, I shall endeavour again to commit it to the 
depository of the neighborhood, generally found to be the best 
precaution against losing a good thing. * * * I will add a 

price impossible. The question then arose what could be done with the money ? 
Our banks, which had been heretofore considered as safe depositories of 
money, had excited alarm as to their solvability by the profuse emission of their 
notes ; and in fact they declared, soon after, their inability to pay their notes, 
in which condition they still continue ; and could they have been trusted with 
the money, no interest would have been allowed by them. It might have 
been lent to the government, who would have paid an interest ; but then the 
principal could not have been demanded under 15. or 20 years, the terms of 
their loans. I concluded therefore to retain it myself, at our legal interest of 6. 
per cent per annum as the only means of avoiding the risk of the banks, of 
yielding the profit which the treasury offered, with the command of the 
principal at a shorter period. But to indemnify myself for the interest I should 
have to pay, it was necessary I should invest it in some profitable course ; and 
to restore it again to the form of money, would require some time after the 
close of the war. I explained this in a letter to Mr. Mazzei, and then supposed 
it might be done at two or three annual instalments, counting from the close of 
the war. Altho* the cessation of hostilities took place in spring of the last year, 
yet the war contributions continued thro the year, aggravated by the most 
calamitous season for agriculture almost ever known. Our term of peace then 
really began with the present year. I was about informing Mr. Mazzei that, 
counting from that period, the principal and interest should be remitted him in 
three annual instalments, when I received the information of his death. I had 
been led to propose to him this delay the less unwillingly, as I had received 
from his family, thro* Mr. Appleton, a request not to remit the principal, which 
they feared he would dispose of to loss. 

I have thought this much necessary, Sir, to explain to you the present state of 
this fund, and the reasons why it cannot be remitted but by successive instal 
ments. A third with it's interest shall be paid the ensuing spring, and the 
remainder in equal portions the two springs following that. The channel of 
remittance must depend on the circumstances of the time. The exchange with 
London at present is much against us. But the calls of the banks on their 
debtors, now rapidly going on, by reducing the redundance, of our medium, and 
the produce of agriculture this year, which as an article of remittance, will 
lessen the demand, & consequently the price of bills of exchange, will probably 
produce, by the next spring, a more favorable state of exchange for the first re- 


word on the political part of our letters. I believe we do not 
differ on either of the points you suppose : on education cer 
tainly not : of which the proofs are my bill " for the diffusion of 
knolege," prepared near 40. years ago ; and my uniform endeav 
our to this day to get our counties divided into wards, one of the 
principal objects of which is the establishment of a primary 
school in each. But education not being a branch of municipal 

mittance. In the meantime I shall receive & execute with pleasure & punctu 
ality any instructions you may think proper to give me as to the channel and 
mode of remittance : and, receiving none, I will certainly do the best I can for 
the benefit of Mr. Mazzei's family, to whom I will render every service in my 
power with the same zeal I would have done for my deceased friend, of which 
I pray you to give them assurance with the homage of my great respect, and to 
accept yourself the tender of my high consideration. 
A year later Jefferson wrote to Appleton as follows: 

MONTICELLO, Aug. I. 17. 

DEAR SIR, My last to you was of July 18. 16. since which I have received 
yours of May 15. and 30. July 30. Sep. 27 & Oct. 20. of the same year, & Mar. 
5. of the present, with the seed of the Lupinella. This came to hand too late 
to be sown this season, and is therefore reserved for the ensuing spring. Mr. 
Madison received what you sent him somewhat earlier, & sowed a little (not 
chusing to venture the whole). I am recently returned from a visit to him and 
saw the plants just come up. From their appearance we judged them to be a 
species of Saintfoin. The next year however I shall sow the whole of mine, 
and be able to judge of it. 

In my letter to you of July 18. and one of the same date to Mr. Carmigniani, 
on the subject of Mr. Mazzei's funds I explained the situation of this country, 
which, after being shut up from all means of disposing of its produce during a 
war of 3. years, had experienced seasons the most adverse to agriculture which 
had ever been known. At that moment also appearances were unfavorable for 
the year then current ; but in the hope it might change for the better, I ven 
tured to promise myself and Mr. Carmigniani that a commencement of remit 
tance of principal and interest should be made in the present year. But the 
drought which was prevailing at the date of my letter, continued thro the whole 
season of the growth of our crops, and produced a failure in them much greater 
than in the preceding year ; insomuch that there has been the greatest distress 
for bread, which has sold generally at 5. times its usual price. Few farmers 
have made enough of other things to pay for their bread ; and the present year 
has been equally afflicting for their crop of wheat, by such an inundation of 
Hessian fly as was never seen before. A great part of my own crop has not 
yielded seed. Whole fields did not give an ear for every square foot ; & many 
turned their cattle on their wheat to make something of it as pasture. After 


government, but, like the other arts and sciences, an accident 
only, I did not place it with election, as a fundamental member 
in the structure of government. * * * Nor, I believe, do we 
differ as to the county courts. I acknolege the value of this in 
stitution, that it is in truth our principal Executive & Judiciary, 
and that it does much for little pecuniary reward. It is their self- 
appointment I wish to correct, to find some means of breaking up 

such a disaster the last year, and so gloomy a prospect for the present, follow 
ing the distresses of the war, our farmers are scarcely able to meet the indis 
pensable expences of taxes, culture & food for their families and labourers. 
Under such difficulties & prospects, I have not only been unable to make the 
remittance I had promised to Mr. Carmigniani, of the first portion of principal 
and interest, but am really afraid to promise it for the next, such are the pros 
pects of the present season ; and unwilling by renewed and precise engagements 
to hazard renewed breaches of them I am constrained to sollicit the consent of 
the family to let the money lie awhile in my hands, and to receive remittances 
of it in portions as I can make them. They may be assured they shall be made 
as soon and as fast as would be in my power, were I to engage for specific 
sums and dates. The interest I solemnly engage to send them annually, and 
about this season of the year. I am in hopes that the punctual receipt of the 
interest from hence will be the same to them, as if received from a depository 
there, while it will be a kind accommodation to me ; and I hope it the more as 
this is really money which I recovered out of the fire for them, by lawsuits & 
persevering efforts, & which I am certain Mr. Mazzei, no more than myself 
had never hoped to obtain. With respect to the ultimate safety of the princi 
pal in my hands, any person from this state can satisfy them that my landed 
property alone is of more than fifty times the amount of this sum. Flattering 
myself then that under these circumstances, and where the difference to them 
is only whether they shall receive their interest from A. or from B. I shall be 
indulged with this accommodation, I have remitted to my friend John Vaughan 
of Philadelphia 400. Dollars to be invested in a good bill payable to yourself, 
with a request to you that you will pay to whoever of the family is entitled to 
receive it, a year's interest, to wit 380. Dollars 52 cents. Altho' I suggest an 
indulgence indefinite in it's particular term, I have no idea of postponing the 
commencement of my remittances, by thirds, more than a year or two longer. 
If the seasons should, against the course of nature hitherto observed continue 
constantly hostile to our agriculture, I will certainly relieve myself at once by a 
sale of property sufficient to refund this whole debt, a measure very disagree 
able while the expectation exists of doing it from the annual profits ; and the 
family will be always free to discontinue the indulgence if the delay should be 
protracted unreasonably and inconveniently to them. The nett proceeds of 
the sale of the ground in Richmond was 6342, say six thousand three hundred 


a Cabal, when such a one gets possession of the bench. When 
this takes place, it becomes the most afflicting of tyrannies, be 
cause it's powers are so various, and exercised on every thing most 
immediately around us. And how many instances have you and 
I known of these monopolies of county administration ! I know 
a county in which a particular family (a numerous one) got pos 
session of the bench, and for a whole generation, never admitted 

and forty two Dollars, received July 14. 1813. If the family consents to my 
proposal, I will, on being so informed, settle up the back interest, add it to 
the principal, send them a specific obligation and thenceforth remit annually 
the interest of six per cent, with portions of the principal as fast as I shall be 
able. I think there remains no other item of account between Mr. Mazzei and 
myself, except 50. D. paid to the lawyer employed in the recovery & 20. D. to 
Mr. Derieux by particular request of Mr. Mazzei. 

I write all this to you, because you have hitherto been the mutual channel of 
this business ; for altho Mr. Carmigniani wrote me a letter which I answered 
July 18. as before mentioned, with a full explanation of the state of the debt, 
the circumstances which had occasioned it's remaining in my hands, and the 
remittances proposed, yet the marriage of Miss Mazzei with Mr. Pini has, I 
supposed determined his agency. I shall be uneasy until I learn that the 
family is contented with this arrangement, and I will therefore sollicit an 
early line from you. . . 

Still later he wrote to Appleton : 

MONTICELLO, July 13, 20. 

DEAR SIR, My letters to you, within the last 12. months have been of May 
28. 19. with the annual remittance to M. & Me. Pini, Sep. 3. informing you of 
a remittance thro' Mr. Vaughan of 300. D. for the wives of the two Raggis, and 
Feb. 15. 20. announcing a remittance of 400. D. for the same persons to pay 
their passage and expences to the U S. Since the last of these your two of Jan. 
15. & 21. have been received. I wonder much that the remittance of the 300. 
D. had not got to hand at the date of yours of Jan. 21. but that transaction 
having passed between Mr. Vaughan and our Proctor, I am not able to state 
the particulars of it's transmission. I hope however it is long since at hand. As 
to the 400. D. of Feb. last, Mr. Vaughan in a letter of Mar. 3. says " the 400 
D. have been received, and I purchased S. Girard's bill on Jas. Lafite and Co. 
Paris at 60. days to order of Thos. Appleton for 2135 90/100 equal to 403. D. 
which I have forwarded to him under cover to Bernard Henry, Gibraltar, by 
the Newburn, Capt. Gushing via Madeira, & duplicate by the Pleiades Capt. 
West direct to Gibraltar, under care of a friend. The 3d I shall send via New 
York. By the Pleiades I sent your letter to Mr. Appleton." Since your in 
formation as to the post thro* Spain I much regret that this last remittance has 
gone by Gibraltar. Altho' I should have supposed opportunities from that to 
Leghorn by sea could not have been rare. However I shall caution Mr. 


a man on it who was not of it's clan or connection. I know a 
county now of 1500. militia, of which 60. are federalists. It's 
court is of 30. members of whom 20. are federalists (every third 
man of the sect) wherein there are large and populous districts, 
without a justice, because without a federalist for appointment, 
and the militia as disproportionably under federal officers ; and 
there is no authority on earth which can break up this junto short 
of a general convention. The remaining 1440 free, fighting, & 
paying citizens are governed by men neither of their choice nor 
confidence & without a hope of relief. They are certainly ex- 

Vaughan against it in future, and recommend London & Paris, perhaps also 
Marseilles where an opportunity to Leghorn direct does not occur. 

In mine of Feb. 15. I mentioned that I should make my annual remittance 
to M. & Me Pini in April or May. I am however to this date before it could be 
done. The extraordinary embarrassments produced by the sudden withdrawing 
of one half of our circulating medium has in a great measure suspended money 
transactions. 9. out of 10. of the banks of the different states have blown up ; 
the adventurers calling themselves merchants, who had been trading on bank 
credits, have been swept away. Those who stood the ordeal still suspend their 
business, from caution, till the storm shall be over, so that from want of me 
dium, and the want of purchasers at market, property & produce are fallen one 
half. \Ve had 18. month ago 6. millions of Dollars in circulation in this state, 
of paper ; we have but 3 millions now. Produce, say flour sold from 8. to 16. 
D. a barrel. It is now at 4. D. This extraordinary curtaillment in the profits 
of the year has brought on a general distress, unknown before in the annals of 
our country. Before this explosion in our commerce, I had hoped myself to 
have been able in good time to remit the principal of my debt to M. & Me Pini, 
from the annual profits of my estate : but the fall in the price of produce, 
likely to continue some time yet, has induced me to give up that hope and to 
determine on the sale of property sufficient for that paiment. This I \pll cer 
tainly do as soon as the present suspension of buying and selling ceases, and 
bidders at a fair price return into the market. At this time nothing can be sold 
at half price. These difficulties have made me a little later than I had expected 
in the remittance of interest this year to M. & Me Pini. I have now placed in 
Mr. Vaughan's hands 444 D. with a request to vest it in a bill of Mr. Girard 
on Paris, (the most solid channel of remittance, and indulged to me as a favor,) 
and to send it via Paris or London, or both ; so that I hope it will have a safe 
and speedy passage to you. . . . 

P. S. June 30. 20. I had written thus far when your favor of May 18. came 
to hand. The remittance of 300. D. for the Raggis, mentioned in my letter 
from Poplar Forest, I find on enquiry was not carried into execution. The 
Proctor informs me that they soon after changed their minds, concluded to send 
for their wives, which requiring a larger sum, produced delay till the state of 
their accounts admitted it, this brought on winter and finally the remittance 


eluded from the blessings of a free government for life, & indefi 
nitely for ought the constitution has provided. This solecism may 
be called anything but republican, and ought undoubtedly to be 
corrected. I salute you with constant friendship and respect. 


MONTICELLO, July 26, 1816. 

DEAR SIR, In compliance with the request of your 
letter of the 6th inst, with respect to Peyton Ran 
dolph, I have to observe that the difference of age 
between him and myself admitted my knowing little 
of his early life, except what I accidentally caught 
from occasional conversations. I was a student at 
college when he was already Attorney General at the 
bar, and a man of established years ; and I had no 
intimacy with him until I went to the bar myself, 
when, I suppose, he must have been upwards of 
forty ; from that time, and especially after I became 
a member of the legislature, until his death, our inti 
macy was cordial, and I was with him when he died. 
Under these circumstances, I have committed to 
writing as many incidents of his life as memory en- 

of 400. D. was made only in time for them to sail in spring. On the subject 
of what I owe to Mr. Mazzei's representatives. I had already made up my mind 
to clear it out as soon as possible. Like thousands of others, I had sustained 
some losses by being security for a friend who failed under the late general 
bankruptcies. This not admitting the delay of annual crops I had come to the 
resolution of selling some unprofitable property to pay at once and to make the 
sale sufficient to discharge the debt to M. & Me Pini. As yet however nothing 
can be sold. All confidence is suspended, and fear takes it's place. The 
grounds for example in Richmd of Mr. Mazzei which sold for 6432 D. could 
not now be sold for 1500 D. It will probably be another year before the fair 
prices of things are settled and proportioned to the reduction of circulating me 
dium. I shall certainly take advantage of the first possibilities of disposing of 
property to disengage myself. It is this same state of commerce which has de 
layed to this date the remittance of this year's interest : I salute you with 
constant & affectionate friendship and respect. 


abled me to do, and to give faith to the many and 
excellent qualities he possessed, I have mentioned 
those minor ones which he did not possess ; consider 
ing true history, in which all will be believed, as pref 
erable to unqualified panegyric, in which nothing is 
believed. I avoided, too, the mention of trivial inci 
dents, which, by not distinguishing, disparage a char 
acter ; but I have not been able to state early dates. 
Before forwarding this paper to you, I received a let 
ter from Peyton Randolph, his great nephew, repeat 
ing the request you had made. I therefore put the 
paper under a blank cover, addressed to you, unsealed, 
and sent it to Peyton Randolph, that he might see 
what dates as well as what incidents might be col 
lected, supplementary to mine, and correct any which 
I had inexactly stated ; circumstances may have been 
misremembered, but nothing, I think, of substance. 
This account of Peyton Randolph, therefore, you 
may expect to be forwarded by his nephew. 

You requested me when here, to communicate to 
you the particulars of two transactions in which I was 
myself an agent, to wit : the coup de main of Arnold 
on Richmond, and Tarleton's on Charlottesville. I 
now enclose them, detailed with an exactness on which 
you may rely with an entire confidence. But, having 
an insuperable aversion to be drawn into controversy 
in the public papers, I must request not to be quoted 
either as to these or the account of Peyton Randolph. 
Accept the assurances of my esteem and respect. 1 


Peyton Randolph was the eldest son of Sir John Randolph, of Virginia, a 
barrister-at-law, and an eminent practitioner at the bar of the General Court. 



MONTICELLO Aug. 2. l6. 

DEAR SIR, Mrs. Randolph, Ellen & myself in 
tended before this to have had the pleasure of seeing 
Mrs Madison and yourself at Montpelier as we men 
tioned to Mr Coles ; but three days ago Mrs Ran 
dolph was taken with a fever, which has confined her 
to her bed ever since. It is so moderate that we are 
in the hourly hope of its leaving her and, after a 
little time to recruit her strength, of carrying her 
purpose into execution, which we shall lose no time 
in doing. In the meantime I salute Mrs Madison & 
yourself with unceasing affection & respect. 

Peyton was educated at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, and 
thence went to England, and studied law at the Temple. At his return he in 
termarried with Elizabeth Harrison, sister of the afterwards Governor Harri 
son, entered into practice in the General Court, was afterwards appointed the 
King's Attorney-General for the colony, and became a representative in the 
House of Burgesses (then so called) for the city of Williamsburg. 

Governor Dinwiddie having, about this period, introduced the exaction of a 
new fee on his signature of grants for lands, without the sanction of any law, 
the House of Burgesses remonstrated against it, and sent Peyton Randolph to 
England, as their agent, to oppose it before the king and council. The interest 
of the governor, as usual, prevailed against that of the colony, and his new 
exaction was confirmed by the king. 

After Braddock's defeat on the Monongahela, in 1755, the incursions of the 
Indians on our frontiers spread panic and dismay through the whole country, 
insomuch that it was scarcely possible to procure men, either as regulars or mili 
tia, to go against them. To counteract this terror and to set a good example, 
a number of the wealthiest individuals of the colony, and the highest standing 
in it, in public as well as in their private relations, associated under obligations 
to furnish each of them two able-bodied men, at their own expense, to form 
themselves into a regiment under the denomination of the Virginia Blues, to 
join the colonial force on the frontier, and place themselves under its com 
mander, George Washington, then a colonel. They appointed William Byrd, 
a member of the council, colonel of the regiment, and Peyton Randolph, I 
think, had also some command. But the original associators had more the will 
than the power of becoming effective soldiers. Born and bred in the lap of 

1 From the Historical Magazine, xiv., 247. 



MONTICELLO, September 4, 1816. 

DEAR SIR, I have read, with great delight, the por 
tion of the history of Mr. Henry which you have been 
so kind as to favour me with, and which is now re 
turned. And I can say, from my own knowledge of the 
contemporary characters introduced into the canvas, 
that you have given them quite as much lustre as them 
selves would have asked. The exactness, too, of your 
details has, in several instances, corrected their errors in 
my own recollections, where they had begun to falter. 

In result, I scarcely find anything needing revisal ; 
yet, to show you that I have scrupulously sought oc- 

wealth, all the habits of their lives were of ease, indolence, and indulgence. 
Such men were little fitted to sleep under tents, and often without them, to be 
exposed to all the intemperances of the seasons, to swim rivers, range the 
woods, climb mountains, wade morasses, to skulk behind trees, and contend as 
sharp-shooters with the savages of the wilderness, who, in all the scenes and 
exercises, would be in their natural element. Accordingly, the commander 
was more embarrassed with their care, than reinforced by their service. They 
had the good fortune to see no enemy, and to return at the end of the campaign 
rewarded by the favor of the public for this proof of their generous patriotism 
and good will. 

When afterwards, in 1764, on the proposal of the Stamp Act, the House of 
Burgesses determined to send an address against it to the king, and memorials 
to the Houses of Lords and Commons, Peyton Randolph, George Wythe.and (I 
think) Robert C. Nicholas, were appointed to draw these papers. That to the 
king was by Peyton Randolph, and the memorial to the Commons was by 
George Wythe. It was on the ground of these papers that those gentlemen op 
posed the famous resolutions of Mr. Henry in 1765, to wit, that the principles 
of these resolutions had been asserted and maintained in the address and memor 
ials of the year before, to which an answer was yet to be expected. 

On the death of the speaker, Robinson, in 1766, Peyton Randolph was 
elected speaker. He resigned his office of Attorney-General, in which he was 
succeeded by his brother Randolph, father of the late Edmund Randolph, and 
retired from the bar. He now devoted himself solely to his duties as a legisla 
tor, and although sound in his principles, and going steadily with us in opposi 
tion to the British usurpations, he, with the other older members, yielded the 

1 From Kennedy's Afemoirs of IV. Wirt, i., 362. 


casions of animadversion, I will particularize the fol 
lowing passages, which I noted as I read them. 

Page 1 1 : I think this passage had better be mod 
erated. That Mr. Henry read Livy through once a 
year is a known impossibility with those who knew 
him. He may have read him once, and some general 
history of Greece ; but certainly not twice. A first 
reading of a book he could accomplish sometimes 
and on some subjects, but never a second. He 
knew well the geography of his own country, but cer 
tainly never made any other a study. So, as to our 
ancient charters ; he had probably read those in Stith's 

lead to the younger, only tempering their ardor, and so far moderating their 
pace as to prevent their going too far in advance of the public sentiment. 

On the establishment of a committee by the legislature, to correspond with 
the other colonies, he was named their chairman, and their first proposition 
to the other colonies was to appoint similar committees, who might consider 
the expediency of calling a general Congress of deputies in order to procure a 
harmony of procedure among the whole. This produced the call of the first 
Congress, to which he was chosen a delegate, by the House of Burgesses, and 
of which he was appointed, by that Congress, its president. 

On the receipt of what was called Lord North's conciliatory proposition, in 
1775, Lord Dunmore called the General Assembly, and laid it before them. 
Peyton Randolph quitted the chair of Congress, in which he was succeeded by 
Mr. Hancock, and repaired to that of the House which had deputed him. 
Anxious about the tone and spirit of the answer which should be given (because 
being the first it might have effect on those of the other colonies), and suppos 
ing that a younger pen would be more likely to come up to the feelings of the 
body he had left, he requested me to draw the answer, and steadily supported 
and carried it through the House, with a few softenings only from the more 
timid members. 

After the adjournment of the House of Burgesses he returned to Congress, 
and died theee of an apoplexy, on the 22d of October following, aged, as I 
should conjecture, about fifty years. 

He was indeed a most excellent man ; and none was ever more beloved and 
respected by his friends. Somewhat cold and coy towards strangers, but of the 
sweetest affability when ripened into acquaintance. Of attic pleasantry in con 
versation, always good humored and conciliatory. With a sound and logical 
head, he was well read in the law ; and his opinions, when consulted, were 
highly regarded, presenting always a learned and sound view of the subject, 


history ; but no man ever more undervalued chartered 
titles than himself. He drew all natural rights from a 
purer source the feelings of his own breast. * * * 

He never, in conversation or debate, mentioned 
a hero, a worthy, or a fact in Greek or Roman his 
tory, but so vaguely and loosely as to leave room to 
back out, if he found he had blundered. 

The study and learning ascribed to him, in this 
passage, would be inconsistent with the excellent and 
just picture given of his indolence through the rest of 
the work. 

Page 33, line 4 : Inquire further into the fact 
alleged that Henry was counsel for Littlepage. I 
am much persuaded he was counsel for Dandridge. 
There was great personal antipathy between him and 
Littlepage, and the closest intimacy with Dandridge, 
who was his near neighbor, in whose house he was 
at home as one of the family, who was his earliest 
and greatest admirer and patron, and whose daughter 
became, afterwards, his second wife. 

but generally, too, a listlessness to go into its thorough development ; for being 
heavy and inert in body, he was rather too indolent and careless for business, 
which occasioned him to get a smaller proportion of it at the bar than his abili 
ties would otherwise have commanded. Indeed, after his appointment as At 
torney-General, he did not seem to court, nor scarcely to welcome, business. 
In that office he considered himself equally charged with the rights of the col 
ony as with those of the crown ; and in criminal prosecutions, exaggerating 
nothing, he aimed at a candid and just state of the transaction, believing it 
more a duty to save an innocent than to convict a guilty man. Although not 
eloquent, his matter was so substantial that no man commanded more atten 
tion, which, joined with a sense of his great worth, gave him a weight in the 
House of Burgesses which few ever attained. He was liberal in his expenses 
but correct also, so as not to be involved in pecuniary embarrassments ; and 
with a heart always open to the amiable sensibilities of our nature, he did as 
many good acts as could have been done with his fortune, without injuriously 
impairing his means of continuing them. He left no issue, and gave his for 
tune to his widow and nephew, the late Edmund Randolph. 


It was in his house that, during a course of Christ 
mas festivities, I first became acquainted with Mr. 
Henry. This, it is true, is but presumptive evidence, 
and may be overruled by direct proof. But I am 
confident he could never have undertaken any case 
against Dandridge ; considering the union of their 
bosoms, it would have been a great crime. 1 * * * 

1 Jefferson further wrote to Wirt concerning his Life of Patrick Henry : 

POPLAR FOREST, November 12, 1816. 

DEAR SIR, Yours of October 23d, was received here on the 3ist, with the 
latest sheets of your work. 

They found me engaged in a business which could not be postponed, and 
have therefore been detained longer than I wished. 

On the subject of our ancient aristocracy, I believe I have said nothing which 
all who knew them will not confirm, and which their reasonable descendants 
may not learn from every quarter. It was the effect of the large accumulation 
of property under the law of entails. 

The suppression of entailsreduced the spirit of the rich, while the increased 
influence given by the new government to the people, raised theirs, and brought 
things to their present level, from a condition which the present generation, 
who have not seen it, can scarcely believe or conceive. 

You ask if I think your work would be the better of retrenchment ? By no 
means. I have seen nothing in it which could be retrenched but to disadvan 
tage. And again, whether, as a friend, I would^ advise its publication? On 
that question, I have no hesitation on your account, as well as that of the pub 
lic. To the latter, it will be valuable ; and honourable to yourself. 

You must expect to be criticised ; and, by a former letter I see you expect it. 
By the Quarterly Reviewers you will be hacked and hewed, with tomahawk 
and scalping-knife. Those of Edinburgh, with the same anti-American preju 
dices, but sometimes considering us as allies against their administration, will 
do it more decently. 

They will assume, as a model for biography, the familiar manner of Plutarch, 
or scanty manner of Nepos, and try you, perhaps, by these tests. But they 
can only prove that your style is different from theirs ; not that it is not good. 

I have always very much dispised the artificial canons of criticism. When 
I have read a work in prose or poetry, or seen a painting, a statue, etc., I have 
only asked myself whether it gives me pleasure, whether it is animating, inter 
esting, attaching? If it is, it is good for these reasons. On these grounds you 
will be safe. Those who take up your book, will find they cannot lay it down, 
and this will be its best criticism. 

You have certainly practised vigorously the precept of " de mortuis nil nisi 



MONTICELLO, September 8, 1816. 

DEAR SIR, The jealousy of the European govern 
ments rendering it unsafe to pass letters through 
their postoffices, I am obliged to borrow the protec 
tion of your cover to procure a safe passage for the 
enclosed letter to Madame de Stae'l, and to ask the 

bonum." This presents a very difficult question, whether one only or both 
sides of the medal shall be presented. It constitutes, perhaps, the distinction 
between panegyric and history. On this, opinions are much divided and, per 
haps, may be so on this feature of your work. On the whole, however, you 
have nothing to fear; at least if my views are not very different from the com 
mon. And no one will see its appearance with more pleasure than myself, as 
no one can, with more truth, give you assurances of great respect and affec 
tionate attachment. 

POPLAR FOREST. Sep. 29, 16. 

DEAR SIR, I found, on my arrival here the 2d parcel of your sheets, which 
I have read with the same avidity and pleasure as the former. This proves 
they will experience no delay in my hands, and that I consider them as worthy 
everything I can do for them. They need indeed but little, or rather I should 
say nothing. I have however hazarded some suggestions on a paper inclosed. 
When I read the former sheets, I did not consider the article of style as within 
my jurisdiction. However since you ask observations on that, and suggest 
doubts entertained by yourself on a particular quality of it, I will candidly say 
that I think some passages of the former sheets too flowery for the sober taste of 
history. It will please young readers in it's present form, but to the older it would 
give more pleasure and confidence to have some exuberances lightly pruned. 
I say lightly, because your style is naturally rich and captivating, and would 
suffer if submitted to the rasp of a rude hand. A few excrescences may be 
rubbed off by a delicate touch ; but better too little than too much correction. 
In the 2d parcel of sheets, altho' read with an eye to your request, I have 
found nothing of this kind. I thus comply with your desire ; but on the con 
dition originally prescribed, that you shall consider my observations as mere 
suggestions, meant to recall the subject to a revision by yourself, and that no 
change be made in consequence of them but on the confirmed dictates of your 
own judgement. I have no amour-propre which will suffer by having hazarded 
a false criticism. On the contrary I should regret were the genuine character 
of your composition to be adulterated by any foreign ingredient. I return to 
Albermarle within a week. Shall stay there 10. days, come back and pass here 
October and part of November. I salute you affectionately. 

MONTICELLO, Oct. 8, 16. 

DEAR SIR, I received your 3d parcel of sheets just as I was leaving Poplar 


favor of you to have it delivered at the hotel of M. 
de Lessert without passing through the post-office. 

In your answer of June 7 to mine of May 18, you 
mentioned that you did not understand to what pro 
ceeding of Congress I alluded as likely to produce a 
removal of most of the members, and that by a spon 
taneous movement of the people, unsuggested by the 
newspapers, which had been silent on it. I alluded 

Forest, and have read them with the usual pleasure. They relate however to 
the period of time exactly, during which I was absent in Europe. Conse 
quently I am without knolege of the facts they state. Indeed they are mostly 
new history to me. 

On the subject of style they are not liable to the doubts I hazarded on the 
1st parcel, unless a short passage in page 198, should be thought too poetical. 
Indeed as I read the 2d & 3d parcels with attentions to style and found them 
not subject to the observations I made on the first, (which were from memory 
only, & after I had parted with them) I have suspected that a revisal might 
have corrected my opinion on the ist. Of this however you will judge. One 
only fact in the last sheets was within my knolege, that relating to Philips, and 
on this I had formerly given you explanations. I am very glad indeed that 
you have examined the records, and established truth in this case. How Mr. 
Randolph could indulge himself in a statement of facts, so solemnly made, the 
falsehood of every article of which had been known to himself particularly ; and 
how Mr. Henry could be silent under such a perversion of facts known to him 
self, agreed on at a consultation with members whom he invited to the palace 
to advise with on the occasion, and done at his request according to what was 
concluded, is perfectly unaccountable. Not that I consider Mr. Randolph as 
misstating intentionally, or desiring to boulster an argument at the expence of an 
absent person : for there were no unsocial dispositions between him & myself ; 
and as little do I impute to Mr. Henry any willingness to leave on my shoulders 
a charge which he could so easily have disproved. The fact must have been that 
they were both out of their heads on that occasion. Still not the less injuriously 
to me, whom Mr. Randolph might as well have named, as the journals shewed I 
was the first named of the Committee. Would it be out of place for you to 
refer by a note to the countenance which Judge Tucker has given to this mis 
representation, by making strictures on it, in his Blackstone, as if it were true ? 
It is such a calumny on our revolutionary government as should be eradicated 
from history, and especially from that of this state, which justly prides itself 
on having gone thro' the revolution without a single example of capital pun 
ishment connected with that. Ever affectionately yours. 


to the law giving themselves 1 500 D. a year. There 
has never been an instant before of so unanimous an 
opinion of the people, and that through every State 
in the Union. A very few members of the first order 
of merit in the House will be re-elected, Clay, of 
Kentucky, by a small majority, and a few others. 
But the almost entire mass will go out, not only those 
who supported the law or voted for it, or skulked 
from the vote, but those who voted against it or op 
posed it actively, if they took the money ; and the ex 
amples of refusals to take it were very few. The next 
Congress, then, Federal as well as Republican, will 
be almost wholly of new members. 

We have had the most extraordinary year of 
drought and cold ever known in the history of Amer 
ica. In June, instead of 3f inches, our average of 
rain for that month, we only had \ of an inch ; in 
August, instead of 9^ inches our average, we had only 
-j^ of an inch ; and still it continues. The summer, 
too, has been as cold as a moderate winter. In every 
State north of this there has been frost in every month 
of the year ; in this State we had none in June and 
July, but those of August killed much corn over the 
mountains. The crop of corn through the Atlantic 
States will probably be less than one-third of an ordi 
nary one, that of tobacco still less, and of mean qual 
ity. The crop of wheat was middling in quantity, 
but excellent in quality. But every species of bread 
grain taken together will not be sufficient for the sub 
sistence of the inhabitants, and the exportation of 
flour, already begun by the indebted and the improvi 
dent, to whatsoever degree it may be carried, will be 


exactly so much taken from the mouths of our own 
citizens. My anxieties on this subject are the greater, 
because I remember the deaths which the drought of 
1755 in Virginia produced from the want of food. 

There are not to be the smallest opposition to the 
election of Monroe and Tompkins, the Republicans 
being undivided and the Federalists desperate. The 
Hartford Convention and peace of Ghent have nearly 
annihilated them. 

Our State is becoming clamorous for a convention 
and amendment for their constitution, and I believe 
will obtain it. It was the first constitution formed in 
the United States, and of course the most imperfect. 
The other States improved in theirs in proportion as 
new precedents were added, and most of them have 
since amended. We have entered on a liberal plan 
of internal improvements, and the universal approba 
tion of it will encourage and insure its prosecution. 
I recollect nothing else domestic worth noting to you, 
and therefore place here my respectful and affectionate 



MONTICELLO, October 16, 1816. 

DEAR SIR, If it be proposed to place an inscription on the 
capitol, the lapidary style requires that essential facts only should 
be stated, and these with a brevity admitting no superfluous word. 
The essential facts in the two inscriptions proposed are these : 

GRESS 1817. 

The reasons for this brevity are that the letters must be of ex 
traordinary magnitude to be read from below ; that little space is 

VOL. X. 5 


allowed them, being usually put into a pediment or in a frize, or 
on a small tablet on the wall ; and in our case, a third reason 
may be added, that no passion can be imputed to this inscription, 
every word being justifiable from the most classical examples. 

But a question of more importance is whether there should be 
one at all ? The barbarism of the conflagration will immortalize 
that of the nation. It will place them forever in degraded com 
parison with the execrated Bonaparte, who, in possession of 
almost every capitol in Europe, injured no one. Of this, history 
will take care, which all will read, while our inscription will be 
seen by few. Great Britain, in her pride and ascendency, has 
certainly hated and despised us beyond every earthly object. 
Her hatred may remain, but the hour of her contempt is passed 
and is succeeded by dread ; not at present, but a distant and deep 
one. It is the greater as she feels herself plunged into an abyss 
of ruin from which no human means point out an issue. We 
also have more reason to hate her than any nation on earth. But 
she is not now an object for hatred. She is falling from her 
transcendant sphere, which all men ought to have wished, but not 
that she should lose all place among nations. It is for the interest 
of all that she should be maintained, nearly on a par with other 
members of the republic of nations. Her power, absorbed into 
that of any other, would be an object of dread to all, and to us 
more than all, because we are accessible to her alone and through 
her alone. The armies of Bonaparte with the fleets of Britain, 
would change the aspect of our destinies. Under these prospects 
should we perpetuate hatred against her? Should we not, on 
the contrary, begin to open ourselves to other and more rational 
dispositions ? It is not improbable that the circumstances of the 
war and her own circumstances may have brought her wise men 
to begin to view us with other and even with kindred eyes. 
Should not our wise men, then, lifted above the passions of the 
ordinary citizen, begin to contemplate what will be the interests 
of our country on so important a change among the elements 
which influence it ? I think it would be better to give her time 
to show her present temper, and to prepare the minds of our 
citizens for a corresponding change of disposition, by acts of 
comity towards England rather than by commemoration of hatred. 


These views might be greatly extended. Perhaps, however, they 
are premature, and that I may see the ruin of England nearer 
than it really is. This will be matter of consideration with those 
to whose councils we have committed ourselves, and whose 
wisdom, I am sure, will conclude on what is best. Perhaps they 
may let it go off on the single and short consideration that the 
thing can do no good, and may do harm. Ever and affection 
ately yours. 



DEAR SIR, I received here (where I pass a good deal of my 
time) your favor of Oct. 22. covering a Prospectus of a new 
edition of your Olive branch. I subscribe to it with pleasure, 
because I believe it has done and will do much good, in holding 
up the mirror to both parties, and exhibiting to both their politi 
cal errors. That I have had my share of them, I am not vain 
enough to doubt, and some indeed I have recognized. There 
is one however which I do not, altho' charged to my account, 
in your book, and as that is the subject of this letter, & I have 
my pen in my hand, I will say a very few words on it. It is my 
rejection of a British treaty without laying it before the Senate. 
It has never, I believe, been denied that the President may re 
ject a treaty after it's ratification has been advised by the Senate, 
then certainly he may before that advice : and if he has made 
up his mind to reject it, it is more respectful to the Senate to do 
it without, than against their advice. It must not be said that 
their advice may cast new light on it. Their advice is a bald 
resolution of yea or nay, without assigning a single reason or 

You ask if I mean to publish anything on the subject of a letter 
of mine to my friend Charles Thompson ? Certainly not. I 
write nothing for publication, and last of all things should it be 
on the subject of religion. On the dogmas of religion as dis 
tinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the begin 
ning of the world to this day, have been quarrelling, fighting, 
burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible 


to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the com 
prehension of the human mind. Were I to enter on that arena, 
I should only add an unit to the number of Bedlamites. Accept 
the assurance of my great esteem and respect. 



DEAR SIR, I received your favor of Oct. 16, at this place, 
where I pass much of my time, very distant from Monticello. 
I am quite astonished at the idea which seems to have got abroad ; 
that I propose publishing something on the subject of religion, 
and this is said to have arisen from a letter of mine to my friend 
Charles Thompson, in which certainly there is no trace of such 
an idea. When we see religion split into so many thousand of 
sects, and I may say Christianity itself divided into it's thousands 
also, who are disputing, anathematizing and where the laws per 
mit burning and torturing one another for abstractions which 
no one of them understand, and which are indeed beyond the 
comprehension of the human mind, into which of the chambers 
of this Bedlam would a \torn\ man wish to thrust himself. The 
sum of all religion as expressed by it's best preacher, ' fear god 
and love thy neighbor ' contains no mystery, needs no explana 
tion. But this wont do. It gives no scope to make dupes ; 
priests could not live by it. Your idea of the moral obligations 
of governments are perfectly correct. The man who is dishonest 
as a statesman would be a dishonest man in any station. It is 
strangely absurd to suppose that a million of human beings col 
lected together are not under the same moral laws which bind 
each of them separately. It is a great consolation to me that 
our government, as it cherishes most it 's duties to its own citi 
zens, so is it the most exact in it's moral conduct towards other 
nations. I do not believe that in the four administrations which 
have taken place, there has been a single instance of departure 
from good faith towards other nations. We may sometimes have 
mistaken our rights, or made an erroneous estimate of the ac 
tions of others, but no voluntary wrong can be imputed to us. 


In this respect England exhibits the most remarkable phaenom- 
enon in the universe in the contrast between the profligacy of 
it's government and the probity of it's citizens. And accord 
ingly it is now exhibiting an example of the truth of the maxim 
that virtue & interest are inseparable. It ends, as might have 
been expected, in the ruin of it's people, but this ruin will fall 
heaviest, as it ought to fall on that hereditary aristocracy which 
has for generations been preparing the catastrophe. I hope we 
shall take warning from the example and crush in it's birth the 
aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to 
challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance 
to the laws of our country. Present me respectfully to Mrs. 
Logan and accept yourself my friendly and respectful salutations. 


MONTICELLO, January n, 1817. 

I owe you, dear Madam, a thousand thanks for the 
letters communicated in your favor of December i5th, 
and now returned. They give me more information 
than I possessed before, of the family of Mr. Tracy. 
But what is infinitely interesting, is the scene of the 
exchange of Louis XVIII. for Bonaparte. What 
lessons of wisdom Mr. Adams must have read in that 
short space of time ! More than fall to the lot of 
others in the course of a long life. Man, and the 
man of Paris, under those circumstances, must have 
been a subject of profound speculation ! It would be 
a singular addition to that spectacle, to see the same 
beast in the cage of St. Helena, like a lion in the 
tower. That is probably the closing verse of the 
chapter of his crimes. But not so with Louis. He 
has other vicissitudes to go through. 


I communicated the letters, according to your per 
mission, to my grand-daughter, Ellen Randolph, who 
read them with pleasure and edification. She is 
justly sensible of, and flattered by your kind notice 
of her ; and additionally so, by the favorable recollec 
tions of our northern visiting friends. If Monticello 
has anything which has merited their remembrance, 
it gives it a value the more in our estimation ; and 
could I, in the spirit of your wish, count backwards a 
score of years, it would not be long before Ellen and 
myself would pay our homage personally to Quincy. 
But those twenty years! Alas! where are they? 
With those beyond the flood. Our next meeting 
must then be in the country to which they have 
flown, a country for us not now very distant. For 
this journey we shall need neither gold nor silver in 
our purse, nor scrip, nor coats, nor staves. Nor is 
the provision for it more easy than the preparation 
has been kind. Nothing proves more than this, that 
the Being who presides over the world is essentially 
benevolent. Stealing from us, one by one, the facul 
ties of enjoyment, searing our sensibilities, leading us, 
like the horse in his mill, round and round the same 
beaten circle, 

To see what we have seen, 

To taste the tasted, and at each return 
Less tasteful ; o'er our palates to decant 
Another vintage 

Until satiated and fatigued with this leaden iteration, 
we ask our own conge. I heard once a very old 
friend, who had troubled himself with neither poets 


nor philosophers, say the same thing in plain prose, 
that he was tired of pulling off his shoes and stock 
ings at night, and putting them on again in the 
morning. The wish to stay here is thus gradually 
extinguished ; but not so easily that of returning, 
once in awhile, to see how things have gone on. 
Perhaps, however, one of the elements of future felic 
ity is to be a constant and unimpassioned view of 
what is passing here. If so, this may well supply the 
wish of occasional visits. Mercier has given us a 
vision of the year 2440 ; but prophecy is one thing, 
and history another. On the whole, however, per 
haps it is wise and well to be contented with the 
good things which the master of the feast places be 
fore us, and to be thankful for what we have, rather 
than thoughtful about what we have not. You and 
I, dear Madam, have already had more than an ordi 
nary portion of life, and more, too, of health than the 
general measure. On this score I owe boundless 
thankfulness. Your health was, some time ago, not 
so good as it has been ; and I perceive in the letters 
communicated, some complaints still. I hope it is 
restored ; and that life and health may be continued 
to you as many years as yourself shall wish, is the 
sincere prayer of your affectionate and respectful 


MONTICELLO, January n, 1817. 

DEAR SIR, Forty-three volumes read in one year, and twelve 
of them quarto ! Dear Sir, how I envy you ! Half a dozen oc- 


tavos in that space of time, are as much as I am allowed. I can 
read by candlelight only, and stealing long hours from my rest ; 
nor would that time be indulged to me, could I by that light see 
to write. From sunrise to one or two o'clock, and often from 
dinner to dark, I am drudging at the writing table. And all this 
to answer letters into which neither interest nor inclination on 
my part enters ; and often from persons whose names I have 
never before heard. Yet, writing civilly, it is hard to refuse 
them civil answers. This is the burthen of my life, a very 
grievous one indeed, and one which I must get rid of. Dela- 
plaine lately requested me to give him a line on the subject of his 
book ; meaning, as I well knew, to publish it. This I constantly 
refuse ; but in this instance yielded, that in saying a word for 
him, I might say two for myself. I expressed in it freely my suf 
ferings from this source ; hoping it would have the effect of an 
indirect appeal to the discretion of those, strangers and others, 
who, in the most friendly dispositions, oppress me with their con 
cerns, their pursuits, their projects, inventions and speculations, 
political, moral, religious, mechanical, mathematical, historical, 
&c., &c., &c. I hope the appeal will bring me relief, and that 
I shall be left to exercise and enjoy correspondence with the 
friends I love, and on subjects which they, or my own inclina 
tions present. In that case, your letters shall not be so long on 
my files unanswered, as sometimes they have been, to my great 

To advert now to the subjects of those of December the i2th 
and i6th. Tracy's Commentaries on Montesquieu have never 
been published in the original. Duane printed a translation from 
the original manuscript a few years ago. It sold, I believe, 
readily, and whether a copy can now be had, I doubt. If it can, 
you will receive it from my bookseller in Philadelphia, to whom 
I now write for that purpose. Tracy comprehends, under the 
word " Ideology," all the subjects which the French term Morale, 
as the correlative to Physique. His works on Logic, Govern 
ment, Political Economy and Morality, he considers as making 
up the circle of ideological subjects, or of those which are within 
the scope of the understanding, and not of the senses. His 
Logic occupies exactly the ground of Locke's work on the Un- 


derstanding. The translation of that on Political Economy 
is now printing ; but it is no translation of mine. I have only 
had the correction of it, which was, indeed, very laborious. Le 
premier jet having been by some one who understood neither 
French nor English, it was impossible to make it more than 
faithful. But it is a valuable work. 

The result of your fifty or sixty years of religious reading, in 
the four words, " Be just and good," is that in which all our in 
quiries must end ; as the riddles of all the priesthoods end in four 
more, " ubi flam's, ibi deus." What all agree in, is probably right. 
What no two agree in, most probably wrong. One of our fan- 
coloring biographers, who paints small men as very great, inquired 
of me lately, with real affection too, whether he might consider as 
authentic, the change of my religion much spoken of in some cir 
cles. Now this supposed that they knew what had been my 
religion before, taking for it the word of their priests, whom I 
certainly never made the confidants of my creed. My answer 
was, "say nothing of my religion. It is known to my God and 
myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in 
my life ; if that has been honest and 'dutiful 'to society, the religion 
which has regulated it cannot be a bad one." Affectionately 


MONTICELLO, Jan. 26, 17. 

DEAR SIR, I have read with great satisfaction the eloquent 
pamphlet you were so kind as to send me, and sympathise with 
every line of it. I was once a doubter whether the labor of the 
Cultivator, aided by the creative powers of the earth itself, would 
not produce more value than that of the manufacturer, alone and 
unassisted by the dead subject on which he acted ? In other 
words, whether the more we could bring into action of the ener 
gies of our boundless territory, in addition to the labor of our citi 
zens, the more would not be our gain ? But the inventions of 
latter times, by labor-saving machines, do as much now for the 
manufacturer, as the earth for the cultivator. Experience too has 
proved that mine was but half the question. The other half is 


whether Dollars & cents are to be weighed in the scale against 
real independence ? The whole question then is solved ; at least 
so far as respects our wants. 

I much fear the effect on our infant establishments, of the pol 
icy avowed by Mr. Brougham, and quoted in the pamphlet. 
Individual British merchants may lose by the late immense im 
portations ; but British commerce & manufactures, in the mass, 
will gain by beating down the competition of ours, in our own 
markets against this policy, our protecting duties are as noth 
ing, our patriotism less. I turn, however, with some confidence 
to a different auxiliary, a revolution in England, now, 1 believe 
unavoidable. '1 he crisis so long expected, inevitable as death, 
altho' uncertain like that in it's date, is at length arrived. Their 
government has acted over again the fable of the frog and the 
ox ; and their bloated system has burst. They have spent the 
fee simple of the island in their inflated enterprises on the peace 
and happiness of the rest of mankind. Their debts have conse 
quently accumulated by their follies & frauds, until the interest 
is equal to the aggregate rents of all the farms in their country*. 
All these rents must go to pay interest, and nothing remains to 
carry on the government. The possession alone of their lands is 
now in the nominal owner ; the usufruct in the public creditors. 
Their people too taxed up to 14. or 15. out of 16. hours of daily 
labor, dying of hunger in the streets & fields. The survivors can 
see for themselves the alternative only of following them or of 
abolishing their present government of kings, lords, & borough- 
commons, and establishing one in some other form, which will let 
them live in peace with the world. It is not easy to foresee the 
details of such a revolution, but I should not wonder to see the 
deportation of their king to Indostan, and of their Prince Regent 
to Botany Bay. There, imbecility might be governed by imbecility, 
and vice by vice ; all in suit. Our wish for the good of the peo 
ple of England, as well as for our own peace, should be that they 
may be able to form for themselves such a constitution & govern 
ment as may permit them to enjoy the fruits of their own labors in 
peace, instead of squandering them in fomenting and paying 
the wars of the world. But during these struggles, their artists 
are to become soldiers. Their manufactures to cease, their com- 


merce sink and our intercourse with them be suspended. This 
interval of suspension may revive and fix our manufactures, wean 
us from British aperies, and give us a national & independent 
character of our own. I cannot say that all this will be, but that 
it may be ; and it ought to be supplicated from heaven by the 
prayers of the whole world that at length there may be ' on earth 
peace, and good will towards men.' No country, more than your 
native one, ought to pray & be prepared for this. I wish them 
success, and to yourself health and prosperity. 


MONTICELLO, Janry. 29, 1817. 

from your last letter, with much affliction, the severe 
and singular attack, your health has lately sustained, 
but its equally singular and sudden restoration con 
firms my confidence in the strength of your constitu 
tion of body and mind and my conclusions that 
neither has received hurt, and that you are still ours 
for a long time to come. We have both much to be 
thankful for in the soundness of our physical organi 
zation, and something for self approbation in the 
order and regularity of life by which it has been pre 
served. Your preceding letter had given me no cause 
to doubt the continued strength of your mind, and 
were it not that I am always peculiarly gratified by 
hearing from you, I should regret you had thought 
the incident with Mr. Delaplaine worth an explana 
tion. He wrote me on the subject of my letter to 
you of Janry. 9, 1816, and asked me questions which 
I answer only to one Being. To himself, therefore, 
I replied : " Say nothing of my Religion : it is known 

1 From Collections of the N. Y. Historical Society, p. 267. 

7 6 THE WRITINGS OF [1817 

to my God and myself alone ; its evidence before the 
world is to be sought in my life ; if that has been 
honest and dutiful to society the Religion which has 
regulated it cannot be a bad one." It is a singular 
anxiety which some people have that we should all 
think alike. Would the world be more beautiful were 
all our faces alike ? were our tempers, our talents, our 
tastes, our forms, our wishes, aversions and pursuits 
cast exactly in the same mould ? If no varieties ex 
isted in the animal, vegetable or mineral creation, but 
all move strictly uniform, catholic & orthodox, what 
a world of physical and moral monotony would it be ! 
These are the absurdities into which those run who 
usurp the throne of God and dictate to Him what 
He should have done. May they with all their 
metaphysical riddles appear before that tribunal with 
as clean hands and hearts as you and I shall. There, 
suspended in the scales of eternal justice, faith and 
works will show their worth by their weight. God 
bless you and preserve you long in life & health. 


MONTICELLO, February 8, 1817. 

DEAR SIR, Your favor of January ad did not come to my 
hands until the 5th instant. I concur entirely in your leading 
principles of gradual emancipation, of establishment on the coast 
of Africa, and the patronage of our nation until the emigrants 
shall be able to protect themselves. The subordinate details 
might be easily arranged. But the bare proposition of purchase 
by the United States generally, would excite infinite indignation 
in all the States north of Maryland. The sacrifice must fall on 
the States alone which hold them ; and the difficult question will 


be how to lessen this so as to reconcile our fellow citizens to it. 
Personally I am ready and desirous to make any sacrifice which 
shall ensure their gradual but complete retirement from the State, 
and effectually, at the same time, establish them elsewhere in free 
dom and safety. But I have not perceived the growth of this 
disposition in the rising generation, of which I once had sanguine 
hopes. No symptoms inform me that it will take place in my 
day. I leave it, therefore, to time, and not at all without hope 
that the day will come, equally desirable and welcome to us as to 
them. Perhaps the proposition now on the carpet at Washington 
to provide an establishment on the coast of Africa for voluntary 
emigrations of people of color, may be the corner stone of this 
future edifice. Praying for its completion as early as may most 
promote the good of all, I salute you with great esteem and 


MONTICEI.LO, Mar. 16. 17. 

DEAR SIR, I learn with real concern that the editor of the 
Theological Repository possesses the name of the author of the 
Syllabus, altho he coyly withholds it for the present, he will need 
but a little coaxing to give it out and to let lose upon him the 
genus irretabile vatum, there and here. Be it so. I shall receive 
with folded arms all their hacking & hewing. I shall not ask 
their passport to a country, which they claim indeed as theirs but 
which was made, I trust, for moral man, and not for dogmatising 
venal jugglers. Should they however, instead of abuse, appeal to 
the tribunal of reason and fact, I shall really be glad to see on 
what point they will begin their attack. For it expressly excludes 
all questions of supernatural character or endowment. I am in 
hopes it may find advocates as well as opposers, and produce for 
us a temperate & full development. As to myself I shall be a 
silent Auditor. 

Mr. Adams's book on Feudal law, mentioned in your letter of 
Feb : 2. I possessed, and it is now in the library at Washington 
which I ceded to Congress. In the same letter you ask if I can 
explain the phrase ' il est digne de porter le ruban gris de lin.' I 


do not know that I can. gris de lin is the French designation of 
the colour which the English call grizzle. The ruban gris de lin 
may be the badge of some association, unknown, I acknowledge to 
me, but to which the author from whom you quote it may have 
some allusion. I shall be happy to learn that you pursue your 
purpose as to the life of the great reformer, and more so in seeing 
it accomplished. I return the Repository with thanks for the 
opportunity of seeing it, and I pray you accept my friendly and 
respectful salutations. 1 

'Jefferson further wrote to Van der Kemp : 

MCNTICF.LLO, May i. 17. 

DEAR SIR, I thank you for your letter of Mar. 3O/ My mind is entirely 
relieved by your assurance that my name did not cross the Atlantic in connection 
with the Syllabus. The suggestion then of the Editor of the Theological Reposi 
tory was like those of our newspaper editors who pretend they know every 
thing, but in discretion will not tell us, while we see that they give us all they 
know and a great deal more. I am now at the age of quietism, and wish not 
to be kicked by the asses of hierophantism. I hope you will find time to take 
up this subject. There are some new publications in Germany which would 
greatly aid it, to wit, 

Augusti's translation & commentary on the 7. Catholic epistles, in which he 
has thrown great light on the opinions of the primitive Christians & on the 
innovations of St. Paul, printed at Lemgo 1808. 2. vols. 8vo. 

Palmer's Paul and Gamaliel. Giessen. 1806. 

Munter's history of dogmas. Gottingen. 1806. shewing the formation of 
the dogmatical system of Christianity. 

Augusti's Manual of the history of Christian dogmas. Leipsic 1805. 

Marteinacke's Manual of Ecclesiastical history. Erlangen 1806. developing 
the simple ideas of the first Christians, and the causes & progress of the subse. 
quent changes. 

I have not written for these books, because I suppose they are in German 
which I do not read ; but I expect they are profoundly learned on their subjects. 

In answer to your inquiries respecting Rienzi, the best account I have met 
with of this poor counterfeit of the Gracchi, who seems to have had enthusiasm 
& eloquence, without either wisdom or firmness, is the 5th & 6th vols. of 
Sigismondi. He quotes for his authority chiefly the Frammenti de Storia 
Romana d'anonimo contemporaneo. Of the monk Borselaro I know nothing, 
and my books are all gone to where they will be more useful, & my memory 
waning under the hand of time. I think Bekker might have demanded a truce 
from his antagonists on the question of a Hall, by desiring them first to fix it's 
geography. But wherever it be, it is certainly the best patrimony of the church, 
and procures them in exchange the solid acres of this world. I salute you with 
entire esteem & respect. 



MONTICELLO, May 2, '17. 

DEAR SIR, I am indebted to you for your favor of Apr. 22, 
and for the copy of the Agricultural magazine it covered, which 
is indeed a very useful work. While I was an amateur in Agri 
cultural science (for practical knolege my course of life never 
permitted me) I was very partial to the drilled husbandry of Tull, 
and thought still better of it when reformed by Young to 12 rows. 
But I had not time to try it while young, and now grown old I 
have not the requisite activity either of body or mind. 

With respect to field culture of vegetables for cattle, instead of 
the carrot and potato recommended by yourself and the magazine, 
& the best of others, we find the Jerusalem artichoke best for 
winter, & the Succory for Summer use. This last was brought 
over from France to England by Arthur Young, as you will see in 
his travels thro' France, & some of the seed sent by him to Genl. 
Washington, who spared me a part of it. It is as productive as 
the Lucerne, without its laborious culture, & indeed without any 
culture except the keeping it clean the first year. The Jerusalem 
artichoke far exceeds the potato in produce, and remains in the 
ground thro' the winter to be dug as wanted. A method of 
ploughing over hill sides horizontally, introduced into the most 
hilly part of our country by Colo. T. M. Randolph, my son in law, 
may be worth mentioning to you. He has practised it a dozen or 
15 years, and it's advantages were so immediately observed that 
it has already become very general, and has entirely changed and 
renovated the face of our country. Every rain, before that, while 
it gave a temporary refreshment, did permanent evil by carrying 
off our soil : and fields were no sooner cleared than wasted. At 
present we may say that we lose none of our soil, the rain not ab 
sorbed in the moment of it's fall being retained in the hollows be 
tween the beds until it can be absorbed. Our practice is when 
we first enter on this process, with a rafter level of 10 f. span, to 
lay off guide lines conducted horizontally around the hill or valley 
from one end to the other of the field, and about 30 yards apart. 

1 From a copy courteously furnished by Mr. Chester A. Stoddard, of Boston, 


The steps of the level on the ground are marked by a stroke of a 
hoe, and immediately followed by a plough to preserve the trace. 
A man or a lad, with the level, and two small boys, the one with 
sticks, the other with the hoe, will do an acre of this in an hour, 
and when once done it is forever done. We generally level a 
field the year it is put into Indian corn laying it into beds of 6 ft. 
wide, with a large water furrow between the beds, until all the 
fields have been once leveled. The intermediate furrows are run 
by the eye of the ploughman governed by these guide lines, & oc 
casion gores which are thrown into short beds. As in ploughing 
very steep hill sides horizontally the common ploughman can 
scarcely throw the furrow uphill, Colo. Randolph has contrived a 
very simple alteration of the share, which throws the furrow down 
hill both going and coming. It is as if two shares were welded 
together at their straight side, and at a right angle with each 
other. This turns on it's bar as on a pivot, so as to lay either 
share horizontal, when the other becoming verticle acts as a mould 
board. This is done by the ploughman in an instant by a single 
motion of the hand, at the end of every furrow. I enclose a bit 
of paper cut into the form of the double share, which being 
opened at the fold to a right angle, will give an idea of it's gen 
eral principle. Horizontal and deep ploughing, with the use of 
plaister and clover, which are but beginning to be used here will, 
as we believe, restore this part of our country to it's original fer 
tility, which was exceeded by no upland in the state. Believing 
that some of these things might be acceptable to you I have 
hazarded them as testimonials of my great esteem & respect. 


MONTICELLO [May ? 1817.] 

DEAR SIR, * * * 

I suppose that your friends of Boston furnish you with our do 
mestic news. Improvement is now the general word with us. 
Canals, roads, education occupy principal attention. A bill which 
had passed both houses of Congress for beginning these works, 
was negatived by the President, on constitutional, and I believe, 


sound grounds ; that instrument not having placed this among 
the enumerated objects to which they are authorized to apply the 
public contributions. He recommended an application to the 
states for an extension of their powers to this object, which will I 
believe be unanimously conceded, & will be a better way of ob 
taining the end, than by strained constructions, which would 
loosen all the bands of the constitution. In the mean time the 
states separately are going on with this work. New York is un 
dertaking the most gigantic enterprise of uniting the waters of L. 
Erie and the Hudson ; Jersey those of the Delaware & Raritan. 
This state proposes several such works ; but most particularly 
has applied itself to establishments for education, by taking up 
the plan I proposed to them 40. years ago, which you will see 
explained in the Notes on Virginia. They have provided for 
this special object an ample fund, and a growing one. They pro 
pose an elementary school in every ward or township, for reading, 
writing and common arithmetic ; a college in every district, sup 
pose of 80. or 100. miles square, for laying the foundations of the 
sciences in general, to wit, languages, geography & the higher 
branches of Arithmetic ; and a single University embracing every 
science deemed useful in the present state of the world. This 
last may very possibly be placed near Charlottesville, which you 
know is under view from Monticello. 

Amid these enlarged measures, the papers tell us of one by the 
legislature of New York, so much in the opposite direction that it 
would puzzle us to say in what, the darkest age of the history of 
bigotry and barbarism, we should find an apt place for it. It is 
said they have declared by law that all those who hereafter shall 
join in communion with the religious sect of Shaking quakers, 
shall be deemed civilly dead, their marriage vows dissolved, and 
all their children and property taken from them ; without any 
provision for rehabilitation in case of resipiscence. To prove 
that this departure from the spirit of our institutions is local and 
I hope merely momentary, Pennsylvania about the same time, re 
jected a proposition to make the belief in a god a necessary quali 
fication for office, altho' I presume there was not an Atheist in 
their body : and" I dare say you have heard that when the law for 
freedom of religion was before the Virginia legislature in which 

VOL. X. 6 

8 2 THE WRITINGS OF [1817 

the phrase ' the author of our holy religion ' happened to be they 
rejected a proposition to prefix to it the name of 'Jesus Christ,' 
altho certainly a great majority of them considered him as such. 
Yet they would not undertake to say that for every one. The 
New York law is so recent that nothing has yet been said about 
it, & I do imagine if it has been past, their next legislature will 
repeal it, and make an amende honorable to the general spirit of 
their confederates. Nothing having yet appeared but the naked 
act, without signature, or a word of the history of it's passage, 
there is room to hope it has been merely an abortive attempt. 

Of the Volcanic state of Europe I know little, and will say 
nothing, and add to the length of this, for myself & the individ 
uals of my family, who remember you with particular friendship, 
the assurances of the highest esteem and respect. 

June 6. 1817. P. S. the preceding written some time ago, is 
now only despatched. 


MONTICELLO, May 14, 1817. 

Although, dear Sir, much retired from the world, 
and meddling little in its concerns, yet I think it al 
most a religious duty to salute at times my old friends, 
were it only to say and to know that " all 's well." 
Our hobby has been politics ; but all here is so quiet, 
and with you so desperate, that little matter is fur 
nished us for active attention. With you too, it has 
long been forbidden ground, and therefore imprudent 
for a foreign friend to tread, in writing to you. But 
although our speculations might be intrusive, our 
prayers cannot but be acceptable, and mine are sin 
cerely offered for the well-being of France. What 
government she can bear, depends not on the state 
of science, however exalted, in a select band of en- 


lightened men, but on the condition of the general 
mind. That, I am sure, is advanced and will advance ; 
and the last change of government was fortunate, in 
asmuch as the new will be less obstructive to the 
effects of that advancement. For I consider your 
foreign military oppressions as an ephemeral obstacle 

Here all is quiet. The British war has left us in 
debt ; but that is a cheap price for the good it has 
done us. The establishment of the necessary manu 
factures among ourselves, the proof that our govern 
ment is solid, can stand the shock of war, and is 
superior even to civil schism, are precious facts for 
us ; and of these the strongest proofs were furnished, 
when, with four eastern States tied to us, as dead to 
living bodies, all doubt was removed as to the achieve 
ments of the war, had it continued. But its best ef 
fect has been the complete suppression of party. The 
federalists who were truly American, and their great 
mass was so, have separated from their brethren who 
were mere Anglomen, and are received with cordiality 
into the republican ranks. Even Connecticut, as a 
State, and the last one expected to yield its steady 
habits (which were essentially bigoted in politics as 
well as religion), has chosen a republican governor, 
and republican legislature. Massachusetts indeed 
still lags ; because most deeply involved in the parri 
cide crimes and treasons of the war. But her gan 
grene is contracting, the sound flesh advancing on it, 
and all there will be well. I mentioned Connecticut 
as the most hopeless of our States. Little Delaware 


had escaped my attention. That is essentially a 
Quaker State, the fragment of a religious sect which, 
there, in the other States, in England, are a homo 
geneous mass, acting with one mind, and that directed 
by the mother society in England. Dispersed, as the 
Jews, they still form, as those do, one nation, foreign 
to the land they live in. They are Protestant Jesuits, 
implicitly devoted to the will of their superior, and 
forgetting all duties to their country in the execution 
of the policy of their order. When war is proposed 
with England, they have religious scruples ; but 
when with France, these are laid by, and they become 
clamorous for it. They are, however, silent, passive, 
and give no other trouble than of whipping them 
along. Nor is the election of Monroe an inefficient 
circumstance in our felicities. Four and twenty years, 
which he will accomplish, of administration in repub 
lican forms and principles, will so consecrate them in 
the eyes of the people as to secure them against the 
danger of change. The evanition of party dissensions 
has harmonized intercourse, and sweetened society 
beyond imagination. The war then has done us all 
this good, and the further one of assuring the world, 
that although attached to peace from a sense of its 
blessings, we will meet war when it is made necessary. 
I wish I could give better hopes of our southern 
brethren. The achievement of their independence of 
Spain is no longer a question. But it is a very seri 
ous one, what will then become of them ? Ignorance 
and bigotry, like other insanities, are incapable of 
self-government. They will fall under military des- 


potism, and become the murderous tools of the ambi 
tion of their respective Bonapartes ; and whether this 
will be for their greater happiness, the rule of one 
only has taught you to judge. No one, I hope, can 
doubt my wish to see them and all mankind exer 
cising self-government, and capable of exercising it. 
But the question is not what we wish, but what is 
practicable ? As their sincere friend and brother 
then, I do believe the best thing for them, would be 
for themselves to come to an accord with Spain, un 
der the guarantee of France, Russia, Holland, and 
the United States, allowing to Spain a nominal su 
premacy, with authority only to keep the peace among 
them, leaving them otherwise all the powers of self- 
government, until their experience in them, their 
emancipation from their priests, and advancement in 
information, shall prepare them for complete inde 
pendence. I exclude England from this confederacy, 
because her selfish principles render her incapable of 
honorable patronage or disinterested co-operation ; 
unless, indeed, what seems now probable, a revolu 
tion should restore to her an honest government, one 
which will permit the world to live in peace. Portu 
gal, grasping at an extension of her dominion in the 
south, has lost her great northern province of Per- 
nambuco, and I shall not wonder if Brazil should re 
volt in mass, and send their royal family back to 
Portugal. Brazil is more populous, more wealthy, 
more energetic, and as wise as Portugal. I have 
been insensibly led, my dear friend, while writing to 
you, to indulge in that line of sentiment in which we 


have been always associated, forgetting that these 
are matters not belonging to my time. Not so with 
you, who have still many years to be a spectator of 
these events. That these years may indeed be many 
and happy, is the sincere prayer of your affectionate 


MONTICELLO June 10. 17. 

DEAR SIR, I am detaining from the Philosophical society 
their copy of Colo. Byrd's journal, until I can learn whether I 
may be permitted to send with it also the supplementary one of 
which I obtained the loan thro' your favor. Will you be so good 
as to favor me with the name of the person to whom it belongs, 
that I may sollicit the permission without troubling you ? 

Does your new bank propose to do any business with country 
people ? I have been in the habit of asking small accommoda 
tions occasionally from the Virginia bank where I had for some 
time past a note of 2000 D. The disastrous corn-crop of the last 
year & the excessive price of that article obliged me to apply to 
them lately for an additional 2000 D. to be indulged until the 
present crop should furnish new resources. They readily fur 
nished the sum, but said the rules established for some time to 
come would forbid them to renew it at the expiration of the 60. 
days. Mr. Gibson, my correspondent & endorser advised me to 
enquire in time whether I could be enabled by the US. bank 
to take up the note when due, under a prospect of it's renewal 
for some months. Will you be so good as to inform me on this 
subject ? Your friends in our vicinity are all well. I salute you 
with friendship and respect. 


MONTICELLO, June 12, 1817. 

SIR, Your favor of May 2oth has been received some time 
since, but the increasing inertness of age renders me slow in 


obeying the calls of the writing-table, and less equal than I have 
been to its labors. 

My opinion on the right of Expatriation has been, so long ago 
as the year 1776, consigned to record in the act of the Virginia 
code, drawn by myself, recognizing the right expressly, and pre 
scribing the mode of exercising it. The evidence of this natural 
right, like that of our right to life, liberty, the use of our facul 
ties, the pursuit of happiness, is not left to the feeble and sophis 
tical investigations of reason, but is impressed on the sense of 
every man. We do not claim these under the charters of kings 
or legislators, but under the King of kings. If he has made it 
a law in the nature of man to pursue his own happiness, he has 
left him free in the choice of place as well as mode ; and we 
may safely call on the whole body of English jurists to produce 
the map on which Nature has traced, for each individual, the 
geographical line which she forbids him to cross in pursuit of 
happiness. It certainly does not exist in his mind. Where, 
then, is it ? I believe, too, I might safely affirm, that there is 
not another nation, civilized or savage, which has ever denied 
this natural right. I doubt if there is another which refuses its 
exercise. I know it is allowed in some of the most respectable 
countries of continental Europe, nor have I ever heard of one in 
which it was not. How it is among our savage neighbors, who 
have no law but that of Nature, we all know. 

Though long estranged from legal reading and reasoning, and 
little familiar with the decisions of particular judges, I have con 
sidered that respecting the obligation of the common law in this 
country as a very plain one, and merely a question of document. 
If we are under that law, the document which made us so can 
surely be produced ; and as far as this can be produced, so far we 
are subject to it, and farther we are not. Most of the States did, 
I believe, at an early period of their legislation, adopt the English 
law, common and statute, more or less in a body, as far as locali 
ties admitted of their application. In these States, then, the 
common law, so far as adopted, is the lex-loci. Then comes the 
law of Congress, declaring that what is law in any State, shall 
be the rule of decision in their courts, as to matters arising within 
that State, except when controlled by their own statutes. But 


this law of Congress has been considered as extending to civil 
cases only ; and that no such provision has been made for crim 
inal ones. A similar provision, then, for criminal offences, would, 
in like manner, be an adoption of more or less of the common 
law, as part of the lex-loci, where the offence is committed ; and 
would cover the whole field of legislation for the general gov 
ernment. I have turned to the passage you refer to in Judge 
Cooper's Justinian, and should suppose the general expressions 
there used would admit of modifications conformable to this 
doctrine. It would alarm me indeed, in any case, to find my 
self entertaining an opinion different from that of a judgment so 
accurately organized as his. But I am quite persuaded that, 
whenever Judge Cooper shall be led to consider that question 
simply and nakedly, it is so much within his course of thinking, 
as liberal as logical, that, rejecting all blind and undefined obliga 
tion, he will hold to the positive and explicit precepts of the law 
alone. Accept these hasty sentiments on the subjects you pro 
pose, as hazarded in proof of my great esteem and respect. 


MONTICELLO, June 13, 1817. 

DEAR SIR, The receipt of your Distributio Geographica 
Plantarum, with the duty of thanking you for a work which 
sheds so much new and valuable light on botanical science, ex 
cites the desire, also, of presenting myself to your recollection, 
and of expressing to you those sentiments of high admiration 
and esteem, which, although long silent, have never slept. The 
physical information you have given us of a country hitherto so 
shamefully unknown, has come exactly in time to guide our 
understandings in the great political revolution now bringing it 
into prominence on the stage of the world. The issue of its strug 
gles, as they respect Spain, is no longer matter of doubt. As it 
respects their own liberty, peace and happiness, we cannot be 
quite so certain. Whether the blinds of bigotry, the shackles 
of the priesthood, and the fascinating glare of rank and wealth, 
give fair play to the common sense of the mass of their people, 


so far as to qualify them for self-government, is what we do not 
know. Perhaps our wishes may be stronger than our hopes. 
The first principle of republicanism is, that the lex-majoris partis 
is the fundamental law of every society of individuals of equal 
rights ; to consider the will of the society enounced by the ma 
jority of a single vote, as sacred as if unanimous, is the first of 
all lessons in importance, yet the last which is thoroughly learnt. 
This law once disregarded, no other remains but that of force, 
which ends necessarily in military despotism. This has been 
the history of the French revolution, and I wish the understand 
ing of our Southern brethren may be sufficiently enlarged and 
firm to see that their fate depends on its sacred observance. 

In our America we are turning to public improvements. 
Schools, roads, and canals, are everywhere either in operation or 
contemplation. The most gigantic undertaking yet proposed, is 
that of New York, for drawing the waters of Lake Erie into the 
Hudson. The distance is 353 miles, and the height to be sur 
mounted 66 1 feet. The expense will be great, but its effect 
incalculably powerful in favor of the Atlantic States. Internal 
navigation by steamboats is rapidly spreading through all our 
States, and that by sails and oars will ere long be looked back to 
as among the curiosities of antiquity. We count much, too, on 
its efficacy for harbor defence ; and it will soon be tried for nav 
igation by sea. We consider the employment of the contribu 
tions which our citizens can spare, after feeding, and clothing, 
and lodging themselves comfortably, as more useful, more moral, 
and even more splendid, than that preferred by Europe, of 
destroying human life, labor and happiness. 

I write this letter without knowing where it will find you. 
But wherever that may be, I am sure it will find you engaged in 
something instructive for man. If at Paris, you are of course in 
habits of society with Mr. Gallatin, our worthy, our able, and ex 
cellent minister, who will give you, from time to time, the de 
tails of the progress of a country in whose prosperity you are so 
good as to feel an interest, and in which your name is revered 
among those of the great worthies of the world. God bless you, 
and preserve you long to enjoy the gratitude of your fellow men, 
and to be blessed with honors, health and happiness. 

9 o THE WRITINGS OF [1817 


MONTICELLO, June 16, 1817. 

DEAR SIR, The importance that the enclosed letters should 
safely reach their destination, impels me to avail myself of the 
protection of your cover. This is an inconvenience to which 
your situation exposes you, while it adds to the opportunities of 
exercising yourself in works of charity. 

According to the opinion I hazarded to you a little before your 
departure, we have had almost an entire change in the body of 
Congress. The unpopularity of the compensaiion law was com 
pleted, by the manner of repealing it as to all the world except 
themselves. In some States, it is said, every member is changed ; 
in all, many. What opposition there was to the original law, 
was chiefly from southern members. Yet many of those have 
been left out, because they received the advanced wages. I 
have never known so unanimous a sentiment of disapprobation ; 
and what is remarkable is, that it was spontaneous. The news 
papers were almost entirely silent, and the people not only unled 
by their leaders, but in opposition to them. I confess I was 
highly pleased with this proof of the innate good sense, the vigi 
lance, and the determination of the people to act for them 

Among the laws of the late Congress, some were of note ; a 
navigation act, particularly, applicable to those nations only who 
have navigation acts ; pinching one of them especially, not only 
in the general way, but in the intercourse with her foreign pos 
sessions. This part may re-act on us, and it remains for trial 
which may bear longest. A law respecting our conduct as a 
neutral between Spain and her contending colonies, was passed 
by a majority of one only, I believe, and against the very general 
sentiment of our country. It is thought to strain our complai 
sance to Spain beyond her right or merit, and almost against 
the right of the party, and certainly against the claims they 
have to our good wishes and neighborly relations. That we 
should wish to see the people of other countries free, is as natural, 
and at least as justifiable, as that one King should wish to see the 
Kings of other countries maintained in their despotism. Right 


to both parties, innocent favor to the juster cause, is our proper 

You will have learned that an act for internal improvement, 
after passing both Houses, was negatived by the President. The 
act was founded, avowedly, on the principle that the phrase in 
the constitution which authorizes Congress " to lay taxes, to pay 
the debts and provide for the general welfare," was an extension 
of the powers specifically enumerated to whatever would promote 
the general welfare ; and this, you know, was the federal doc 
trine. Whereas, our tenet ever was, and, indeed, it is almost the 
only landmark which now divides the federalists from the re 
publicans, that Congress had not unlimited powers t6 provide for 
the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enu 
merated ; and that, as it was never meant they should provide 
for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers, 
so it could not have been meant they should raise money for pur 
poses which the enumeration did not place under their action ; 
consequently, that the specification of powers is a limitation of 
the purposes for which they may raise money. I think the pas 
sage and rejection of this bill a fortunate incident. Every State 
will certainly concede the power ; and this will be a national 
confirmation of the grounds of appeal to them, and will settle 
forever the meaning of this phrase, which, by a mere grammati 
cal quibble, has countenanced the General Government in a 
claim of universal power. For in the phrase, " to lay taxes, to 
pay the debts and provide for the general welfare," it is a mere 
question of syntax, whether the two last infinitives are governed 
by the first or are distinct and co-ordinate powers ; a question 
unequivocally decided by the exact definition of powers imme 
diately following. It is fortunate for another reason, as the 
States, in conceding the power, will modify it, either by requir 
ing the federal ratio of expense in each State, or otherwise, so 
as to secure us against its partial exercise. Without this caution, 
intrigue, negotiation, and the barter of votes might become as 
habitual in Cong'ress, as they are in those legislatures which have 
the appointment of officers, and which, with us, is called " log 
ging," the term of the farmers for their exchanges of aid in roll 
ing together the logs of their newly-cleared grounds. Three of 


our papers have presented us the copy of an act of the legislature 
of New York, which, if it has really passed, will carry us back 
to the times of the darkest bigotry and barbarism, to find a paral 
lel. Its purport is, that all those who shall hereafter join in 
communion with the religious sect of Shaking Quakers, shall be 
deemed civilly dead, their marriages dissolved, and all their child 
ren and property taken out of their hands. This act being pub 
lished nakedly in the papers, without the usual signatures, or any 
history of the circumstances of its passage, I am not without a 
hope it may have been a mere abortive attempt. It contrasts 
singularly with a cotemporary vote of the Pennsylvania legisla 
ture, who, on a proposition to make the belief in God a neces 
sary qualification for office, rejected it by a great majority, 
although assuredly there was not a single atheist in their body. 
And you remember to have heard, that when the act for religious 
freedom was before the Virginia Assembly, a motion to insert the 
name of Jesus Christ before the phrase, " the author of our holy 
religion," which stood in the bill, was rejected, although that 
was the creed of a great majority of them. 

I have been charmed to see that a Presidential election now 
produces scarcely any agitation. On Mr. Madison's election there 
was little, on Monroe's all but none. In Mr. Adams' time and 
mine, parties were so nearly balanced as to make the struggle 
fearful for our peace. But since the decided ascendency of the 
republican body, federalism has looked on with silent but unre 
sisting anguish. In the middle, southern and western States, it 
is as low as it ever can be ; for nature has made some men mon 
archists and tories by their constitution, and some, of course, 
there always will be. 


POPLAR FOREST, July 12, 17. 

DEAR SIR, This is the only fair day since you 
were here, & being to depart to-morrow, I must em 
ploy it otherwise than in paying the visit I had in- 


tended you. I shall be back however within 3 weeks 
and have time then to render the double. 

In the mean while as your Paul is desirous of lay 
ing up useful things in the storehouse of his mind, I 
send him a little bundle of canons of conduct which 
may merit a shelf after the one occupied by the 
Decalogue of first authority. If he will get them by 
heart, occasions will not be wanting for their useful 
application. You can furnish him also with another 
decad, and regulating his life by this code of practice 
it may bring pleasure and profit to himself, and praise 
from others. Wishing pleasure, profit, and praise to 
him, to you and yours, I salute you with constant 
friendship and respect. 1 



Your letter of the 6th inst. is delivered to me at this place with 
an extract from the Franklin Republican of July 29. in these 

1 Th. Jefferson to Paul Clay. 
" I. Never spend your money before you have it. 

2. Never buy what you don't want, because it is cheap : it will be dear to 

3. Pride costs more than hunger, thirst and cold. 

4. Never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day. 

5. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself. 

6. Think as you please and let others do so : you will then have no 

7. How much pain have cost us the things which have never happened. 

8. Take things always by their smooth handle. 

9. When angry count 10. before you speak. If very angry 100. 

10. When at table, remember that we never repent of having eaten or drunk 
too little. 

Haec animo concipe dicta tuo et vale." 


words. 'Extract of a letter from Virginia. July 13. 1817. The 
day before yesterday I was at Monticello, & had the gratification 
to hear the chief of the elevated group there (Mr. Jefferson) ex 
press his anxious wish for the success of the democratic republican 
gubernatorial candidate in Pensylvania As he says he has no 
opinion of tool or turnabout politicians just to serve their oiun ag 
grandisement' Now I declare to you, Gentlemen, on my honor 
that I never expressed a sentiment, or uttered a syllable to any 
mortal living on the subject of the election referred to in this 
extract. It is one into which I have never permitted even my 
wishes to enter, entertaining as I do a high respect for both the 
characters in competition, and not doubting that the state of 
Pensylvania will be happier under the government of either. If 
any further proof of the falsehood of this letter writer were 
required, it would be found in the fact that on the nth of July, 
when he pretends to have seen me at Monticello, & to have been 
entrusted by me with expressions so highly condemnable, I was 
at this place 90 miles South West of that, attending to my harvest 
here. I had left Monticello on the 29th of June, & did not return 
to it until the i5th of July. The facts of my absence from the 
one place, & presence at the other, at that date, are well known 
to many inhabitants of the town of Charlottesville near the one, & 
of Lynchburg near the other place. 

I am duly sensible of the sentiments of respect with which you 
are pleased to honor me in your letter, as I am also of those con- 
concerning myself in the resolutions of the respectable Com 
mittee of the New market ward, who have been led into error 
by this very false letter writer. These, I trust, will not be less 
ened on either side by my assurance that, considering this as a 
family question I do not allow myself to take any part in it, and 
the less as the issue either way cannot be unfavorable to repub 
lican government. I tender to both parties sincere sentiments 
of esteem & respect. 


DEAR SIR, Your favor of Aug. 14. was delivered to me as I 
was setting out for the distant possession from which I now write, 


& to which I pay frequent & long visits. On my arrival here I 
make it my first duty to write the letter you request to Mr. Erv- 
ing, and to in close itin this under cover to your father that you 
may get it in time. My letters are always letters of thanks be 
cause you are always furnishing occasion for them. I am very 
glad you have been so kind as to make the alteration you mention 
in the Herodotus & Livy I had asked from the Messrs. Desbures. 
I have not yet heard from them, but daily expect to do so, and to 
learn the arrival of my books. I shall probably send them an 
other catalogue early in spring ; every supply from them fur 
nishing additional materials for my happiness. 

I had before heard of the military ingredients which Bonaparte 
had infused into all the schools of France, but have never so well 
understood them as from your letter. The penance he is now 
doing for all his atrocities must be soothing to every virtuous 
heart. It proves that we have a god in heaven. That he is just, 
and not careless of what passes in this world. And we cannot 
but wish to this inhuman wretch, a long, long life, that time as 
well as intensity may fill up his sufferings to the measure of his 
enormities. But indeed what sufferings can atone for his crimes 
against the liberties & happiness of the human race ; for the mis 
eries he has already inflicted on his own generation, & on those 
yet to come, on whom he has rivetted the chains of despotism ! 

I am now entirely absorbed in endeavours to effect the estab 
lishment of a general system of education in my native state, on 
the triple basis, x, of elementary schools which shall give to the 
children of every citizen gratis, competent instruction in reading, 
writing, common arithmetic, and general geography. 2. Collegi 
ate institutions for antient & modern languages, for higher instruc 
tion in arithmetic, geography & history, placing for these purposes 
a college within a day's ride of every inhabitant of the state, and 
adding a provision for the full education at the public expence of 
select subjects'from among the children of the poor, who shall have 
exhibited at the elementary schools the most prominent indica 
tions of aptness of judgment & correct disposition. 3. An Uni 
versity in which all the branches of science deemed useful at this 
day, shall be taught in their highest degree. This would probably 
require ten or twelve professors, for most of whom we shall be 

9 6 THE WRITINGS OF [i8i& 

obliged to apply to Europe, and most likely to Edinburg, because 
of the greater advantage the students will receive from communi 
cations made in their native language. This last establishment 
will probably be within a mile of Charlottesville, and four from 
Monticello, if the system should be adopted at all by our legisla 
ture who meet within a week from this time. My hopes however 
are kept in check by the ordinary character of our state legisla 
tures, the members of which do not generally possess information 
enough to perceive the important truths, that knolege is power, 
that knolege is safety, and that knolege is happiness. 

In the meantime, and in case of failure of the broader plan, we 
are establishing a college of general science, at the same situation 
near Charlottesville, the scale of which, of necessity will be much 
more moderate, as resting on private donations only. These 
amount at present to about 75,000 Dollars. The buildings are 
begun, and by midsummer we hope to have two or three profess 
orships in operation. Would to god we could have two or three 
duplicates of yourself, the original being above our means and 
hopes. If then we fail in doing all the good we wish, we will do 
at least all we can. This is the law of duty in every society of 
free agents, where every one has equal right to judge for himself. 
God bless you, and give to the means of benefiting mankind 
which you will bring home with you, all the success your high 
qualifications ought to insure. 


MONTICELLO, January 5, 1818. 

I have first to thank you, dear Sir, for the copy of your late 
work which you have been so kind as to send me, and then to 
render you double congratulations, first, on the general applause 
it has so justly received, and next on the public testimony of 
esteem for its author, manifested by your late call to the execu 
tive councils of the nation. All this I do heartily, and then pro 
ceed to a case of business on which you will have to advise the 
government on the threshold of your office. You have seen the 


death of General Kosciusko announced in the papers in such a 
way as not to be doubted. He had in the funds of the United 
States a very considerable sum of money, on the interest of 
which he depended for subsistence. On his leaving the United 
States, in 1798, he placed it under my direction by a power of 
attorney, which I executed entirely through Mr. Barnes, who 
regularly remitted his interest. But he left also in my hands an 
autograph will, disposing of his funds in a particular course of 
charity, and making me his executor. The question the govern 
ment will ask of you, and which I therefore ask, is in what court 
must this will be proved, and my qualification as executor be re 
ceived, to justify the United States in placing these funds under 
the trust ? This is to be executed wholly in this State, and will 
occupy so long a course of time beyond what I can expect to 
live, that I think to propose to place it under the Court of Chan 
cery. The place of probate generally follows the residence of 
the testator. That was in a foreign country in the present case. 
Sometimes the bona notabilia. The evidences or representations 
of these (the certificates) are in my hands. The things repre 
sented (the money) in those of the United States. But where 
are the United States ? Everywhere, I suppose, where they have 
government or property liable to the demand on payment. That 
is to say, in every State of the Union, in this, for example, as 
well as any other, strengthened by the circumstances of the de 
posit of the will, the residence of the executor, and the place 
where the trust is to be executed. In no instance, I believe, 
does the mere habitation of the debtor draw to it the place of 
probate, and if it did, the United States are omnipresent by their 
functionaries, as well as property in every State of the Union. I 
am led by these considerations to suppose our district or general 
court competent to the object ; but you know best, and by your 
advice, sanctioned by the Secretary of the Treasury, I shall act. 
I write to the Secretary on this subject. If our district court will 
do, I can attend it personally ; if the general court only be com 
petent, I am in hopes it will find means of dispensing with my 
personal attendance. I salute you with affectionate esteem and 




MONTICELLO, Jan. 14, 1818. 

DEAR SIR, When on the 6th inst. I was answering yours of 
Dec. 29, I was so overwhelmed with letters to be answered, that I 
could not take time to notice the objection stated, " that it was 
apprehended that neither the people, nor their representatives, 
would agree to the plan of assessment on the wards for the ex 
penses of the ward schools." I suppose that this is meant the 
" pecuniary expense of wages to the tutor " ; for, as to what the 
people are to do, or to contribute in kind, every one who knows 
the situation of our people in the country, knows it will not be 
felt. The building the long houses will employ the laborers of 
the ward three or four days in every 20 years. The contributions 
for subsistence, if averaged on the families, would be 8 or 9 Ibs. 
of pork, and a half a bushel of corn for a family of middling cir 
cumstances not more than 2 days subsistence of the family and 
its stock and less in proportion as it could spare less. There is 
not a family in the country so poor as to feel this contribution. 
It must then be the assessment of the pecuniary contribution 
which is thought so formidable an addition to the property tax 
we now pay to the state that " neither the people, nor their repre 
sentatives would agree to." Now, let us look this objection in 
the face, and bring it to the unerring test of figures ; premising 
that this pecuniary tax is to be of 150 dollars on a ward. 

Not possessing the documents which would give me the num 
bers to be quoted, correctly to a unit, I shall use round numbers, 
so near the truth, that with the further advantage of facilitating 
our calculations as we go a long, they will make no sensible error 
in the result. I will proceed therefore on the following postu 
lates, and on the ground that there are in the whole state 100 
counties and cities. 

In the whole In every county on 

state. an average. 

The free white inhabitants of all ages and 

sexes, at the last census were 600,000 6,000 

The number of militia were somewhere 

about 80,000 800 

1 From Niles's Register, vol. xiv., p. 174. 


In the whole In every county on 

state. an average. 

The number of captain's companies, of 67 

each would be about 1,200 12 

Free white inhabitants for every militia 

company, 600,000-1200 500 oo 

The tax on property paid to the state is 

nearly 500,000 5,ooo 

Let us then proceed on these data, to compare the expense of 
the proposed and of the existing system of primary schools. I 
have always supposed that the wards should be laid off as to com 
prehend the number of inhabitants necessary to furnish a captains 
company of militia. This is before stated at 500 persons of all 
ages and sexes. From the tables of mortality (Buff on *s) we find 
that where there are 500 persons of all ages and sexes, there will 
always be 14 in their loth year, 13 and a fraction in their nth, 
and 13 in their i2th year; so that the children of these three 
years (which are those that ought to be devoted to the elementary 
schools) will be a constant number of 40 ; about enough to occupy 
one teacher constantly. His wages of $150, partitioned on these 
40, make their teaching cost $3^- a-piece, annually. If we reckon 
as many heads of families in a ward as there are militia (as I 
think we may, the unmarried militia men balancing, in numbers, 
the married and unmarried exempts) $150 on 67 heads of families 
(if levied equally) would be $2,24 on each. At the same time 
the property tax on the ward being $5000 :-i2, or $416, and that 
again subdivided on 67 heads of families (if it were levied equally) 
would be $6,20 on a family of middling circumstances, the tax 
which it now pays to the state. So that to $6,20, the present 
state tax, the school tax, would add $2,24, which is about 36 cents 
to the dollar, or one third to the present property tax : and to the 
whole state would be $150 X 1200 wards equal to $180,000 of tax 
added to the present $500,000. 

Now let us see what the present primary schools cost us, on the 
supposition that all the children of 10, n and 12 years old are, as 
they ought to be, at school : and if they are not, so much the 
worse is the system : for they will be untaught, and their igno 
rance and vices will, in future life cost us much dearer in their 

ioo THE WRITINGS OF [1818 

consequences, than it would have done, in their correction, by a 
good education. 

I am here at a loss to say what is now paid to our English ele 
mentary schools, generally, through the state. In my own neigh 
borhood, those who formerly received from 205 to 305 a scholar, 
now have from 20 to 30 dollars ; and having no other informa 
tion to go on, I must use my own numbers, the result of which, 
however, will be easily corrected, and accomodated to the average 
price through the state, when ascertained ; and will yet, I am per 
suaded, leave abundance of difference between the two systems. 

Taking a medium of $25, the 40 pupils in each ward now cost 
$1000 a year, instead of $150, or $15 on a family, instead of $2, 
24 ; and 1200 wards cost to the whole state $1,200,000 of tax, in 
addition to the present $500,000 instead of $180,000 only ; pro 
ducing a difference of $1,020,000 in favor of the ward system, 
more than doubling the present tax, instead of adding one third 
only, and should the price of tuition, which I have adopted from 
that in my own neighborhood, be much above the average thro' 
the state, yet no probable correction will bring the two systems 
near a level. 

But take into consideration, also, the important difference, that 
the $1,200,000 are now paid by the people as a poll tax, the poor 
having as many children as the rich, and paying the whole tuition 
money themselves ; whereas, on the proposed ward levies the 
poor man would pay in proportion to his hut and peculium only, 
which the rich would pay on their palaces and principalities. It 
cannot, then be that the people will not agree to have their tuition 
tax lightened by levies on the ward rather than on themselves ; 
and as little believe that their " representatives " will disagree to 
it ; for even the rich will pay less than they do now. The por 
tion of the $180,000, which, on the ward system, they will pay for 
the education of the poor as well as of their own children, will not 
be as much as they now pay for their own alone. 

And will the wealthy individual have no retribution ? and what 
will this be ? i. The peopling his neighborhood with honest, 
useful and enlightened citizens, understanding their own rights 
and firm in their perpetuation. 2. When his own descendants 
became poor, which they generally do within three generations, 


(no law of Primogeniture now perpetuating wealth in the same 
families) their children will be educated by the then rich, and the 
little advance he now makes to poverty, while rich himself, will 
be repaid by the then rich, to his descendants when become poor, 
and thus give them a chance of rising again. This is a solid consid 
eration, and should go home to the bosom of every parent. This 
will be seed sowed in fertile ground. It is a provision for his 
family looking to distant times, and far in duration beyond that 
he has now in hand for them. Let every man count backwards 
in his own family, and see how many generations he can go, 
before he comes to the ancestor who made the fortune he now 
holds. Most will be stopped at the first generation, many at the 
2d, few will reach the third, and not one in the state go beyond 
the 5th. 

I know that there is much prejudice, even among the body of 
the people, against the expense and even the practicability of 
a sufficient establishment of elementary schools, but I think it 
proceeds from vague ideas on a subject they have never brought 
to the test of facts and figures ; but our representatives will 
fathom its depths, and the people could and would do the same, 
if the facts and considerations belonging to the subject were pre 
sented to their minds and their subsequent as certainly as their 
previous approbation, would be secured. 

But if the whole expense of the elementary schools, wages, sub 
sistence and buildings are to come from the literary fund, and if 
we are to wait until that fund shall be accumulated to the requi 
site amount, we justly fear that some one unlucky legislature will 
intervene within the time, charge the whole appropriation to the 
lightening of taxes, and leave us where we now are. 

There is, however, an intermediate measure which might bring 
the two plans together. If the literary fund be of one and a half 
million of dollars, take the half million for the colleges and uni 
versity, it will establish them meagrely and make a deposite of 
the remaining million. Its interest of $60,000 will give $50 a year 
to each ward, towards the teacher's wages, and reduce the tax to 
24 instead of 36 cents to the dollar ; and as the literary fund con 
tinues to accumulate give one-third of the increase to the colleges 
and university and two-thirds to the ward schools. The increas- 

102 THE WRITINGS OF [1818 

ing interest of this last portion will be continually lessening the 
school tax, until it will extinguish it altogether ; the subsistence 
and buildings remaining always to be furnished by the ward 
in kind. 

A system of general instruction, which shall reach every descrip 
tion of our citizens from the richest to the poorest, as it was the 
earliest, so will it be the latest of all the public concerns in which 
I shall permit myself to take an interest. Nor am I tenacious of 
the form in which it shall be introduced. Be that what it may, 
our descendants will be as wise as we are, and will know how to 
amend and amend it, until it shall suit their circumstances. Give 
it to us, then in any shape, and receive for the inestimable boon 
the thanks of the young and the blessings of the old, who are past 
all other services but prayers for the prosperity of their country 
and blessings for those who promote it. 


MONTICELLO, March 3, 1818. 

DEAR SIR, I have just received your favor of February 2oth, 
in which you observe that Mr. Wirt, on page 47 of his Life of 
Patrick Henry, quotes me as saying that " Mr. Henry certainly 
gave the first impulse to the ball of revolution." I well recollect 
to have used some such expression in a letter to him, and am tol 
erably certain that our own State being the subject under contem 
plation, I must have used it with respect to that only. Whether 
he has given it a more general aspect I cannot say, as the pas 
sage is not in the page you quote, nor, after thumbing over much 
of the book, have I been able to find it. 1 In page 417 there is 
something like it, but not the exact expression, and even there it 
may be doubted whether Mr. Wirt had his eye on Virginia alone, 
or on all the colonies. But the question, who commenced the 
revolution ? is as difficult as that of the first inventors of a thou 
sand good things. For example, who first discovered the prin 
ciple of gravity ? Not Newton ; for Galileo, who died the year 

1 It was on page 41. 


that Newton was born, had measured its force in the descent of 
gravid bodies. Who invented the Lavoiserian chemistry ? The 
English say Dr. Black, by the preparatory discovery of latent 
heat. Who invented the steamboat ? Was it Gerbert, the Mar 
quis of Worcester, Newcomen, Savary, Papin, Fitch, Fulton ? 
The fact is, that one new idea leads to another, that to a third, 
and so on through a course of time until some one, with whom 
no one of these ideas was original, combines all together, and 
produces what is justly called a new invention. I suppose it 
would be as difficult to trace our revolution to its first embryo. 
We do not know how long it was hatching in the British cabinet 
before they ventured to make the first of the experiments which 
were to develop it in the end and to produce complete parliament 
ary supremacy. Those you mention in Massachusetts as preced 
ing the stamp act, might be the first visible symptoms of that 
design. The proposition of that act in 1764, was the first here. 
Your opposition, therefore, preceded ours, as occasion was sooner 
given there than here, and the truth, I suppose, is, that the oppo 
sition in every colony began whenever the encroachment was 
presented to it. This question of priority is as the inquiry would 
be who first, of the three hundred Spartans, offered his name to 
Leonidas ? I shall be happy to see justice done to the merits of 
all, by the unexceptionable umpirage of date and facts, and es 
pecially from the pen which is proposed to be employed in it. 

I rejoice, indeed, to learn from you that Mr. Adams retains the 
strength of his memory, his faculties, his cheerfulness, and even 
his epistolary industry. This last is gone from me. The aver 
sion has been growing on me for a considerable time, and now, 
near the close of seventy-five, is become almost insuperable. I 
am much debilitated in body, and my memory sensibly on the 
wane. Still, however, I enjoy good health and spirits, and am 
as industrious a reader as when a student at college. Not of 
newspapers. These I have discarded. I relinquish, as I ought 
to do, all intermeddling with public affairs, committing myself 
cheerfully to the watch and care of those for whom, in my turn 
I have watched and cared. When I contemplate the immense 
advances in science and discoveries in the arts which have been 
made within the period of my life, I look forward with confi- 

104 THE WRITINGS OF [1818 

dence to equal advances by the present generation, and have no 
doubt they will consequently be as much wiser than we have 
been as we than our fathers were, and they than the burners of 
witches. Even the metaphysical contest, which you so pleas 
antly described to me in a former letter, will probably end in 
improvement, by clearing the mind of Platonic mysticism and 
unintelligible jargon. Although age is taking from me the power 
of communicating by letter with my friends as industriously as 
heretofore, I shall still claim with them the same place they will 
ever hold in my affections, and on this ground I, with sincerity 
and pleasure, assure you of my great esteem and respect. 


MONTICELLO, March 14, 1818. 

DEAR SIR, Your letter of February zyth found me suffering 
under an attack of rheumatism, which has but now left me at 
sufficient ease to attend to the letters I have received. A plan 
of female education has never been a subject of systematic con 
templation with me. It has occupied my attention so far only as 
the education of my own daughters occasionally required. Con 
sidering that they would be placed in a country situation, where 
little aid could be obtained from abroad, I thought it essential to 
give them a solid education, which might enable them, when be 
come mothers, to educate their own daughters, and even to di 
rect the course for sons, should their fathers be lost, or incapable, 
or inattentive. My surviving daughter accordingly, the mother 
of many daughters as well as sons, has made their education the 
object of her life, and being a better judge of the practical part 
than myself, it is with her aid and that of one of her eleves that 
I shall subjoin a catalogue of the books for such a course of read 
ing as we have practiced. 

A great obstacle to good education is the inordinate passion 
prevalent for novels, and the time lost in that reading which 
should be instructively employed. When this poison infects 
the mind, it destroys its tone and revolts it against wholesome 
reading. Reason and fact, plain and unadorned, are rejected. 


Nothing can engage attention unless dressed in all the figments 
of fancy, and nothing so bedecked comes amiss. The result is a 
bloated imagination, sickly judgment, and disgust towards all 
the real businesses of life. This mass of trash, however, is not 
without some distinction ; some few modelling their narratives, 
although fictitious, on the incidents of real life, have been able 
to make them interesting and useful vehicles of a sound morality. 
Such, I think, are Marmontel's new moral tales, but not his old 
ones, which are really immoral. Such are the writings of Miss 
Edgeworth, and some of those of Madame Genlis. For a like 
reason, too, much poetry should not be indulged. Some is useful 
for forming style and taste. Pope, Dryden, Thompson, Shak- 
speare, and of the French, Moliere, Racine, the Corneilles, may 
be read with pleasure and improvement. 

The French language, become that of the general intercourse 
of nations, and from their extraordinary advances, now the de 
pository of all science, is an indispensable part of education for 
both sexes. In the subjoined catalogue, therefore, I have placed 
the books of both languages indifferently, according as the one 
or the other offers what is best. 

The ornaments too, and the amusements of life, are entitled 
to their portion of attention. These, for a female, are dancing, 
drawing, and music. The first is a healthy exercise, elegant and 
very attractive for young people. Every affectionate parent 
would be pleased to see his daughter qualified to participate with 
her companions, and without awkwardness at least, in the circles 
of festivity, of which she occasionally becomes a part. It is a 
necessary accomplishment, therefore, although of short use, for 
the French rule is wise, that no lady dances after marriage. This 
is founded in solid physical reasons, gestation and nursing leav 
ing little time to a married lady when this exercise can be either 
safe or innocent. Drawing is thought less of in this country 
than in Europe. It is an innocent and engaging amusement, 
often useful, and a qualification not to be neglected in one who 
is to become a mofher and an instructor. Music is invaluable 
where a person has an ear. Where they have not, it should not 
be attempted. It furnishes a delightful recreation for the hours 
of respite from the cares of the day, and lasts us through life. 

io6 THE WRITINGS OF [1818 

The taste of this country, too, calls for this accomplishment more 
strongly than for either of the others. 

I need say nothing of household economy, in which the 
mothers of our country are generally skilled, and generally care 
ful to instruct their daughters. We all know its value, and that 
diligence and dexterity in all its processes are inestimable treas 
ures. The order and economy of a house are as honorable to the 
mistress as those of the farm to the master, and if either be neg 
lected, ruin follows, and children destitute of the means of living. 

This, Sir, is offered as a summary sketch on a subject on which 
I have not thought much. It probably contains nothing but 
what has already occurred to yourself, and claims your accept 
ance on no other ground than as a testimony of my respect for 
your wishes, and of my great esteem and respect. 



DEAR SIR, I avail myself as usual of the protection of your 
cover for my letters that to Cathalan need only be put into the 
post office ; but for that for Appleton I must ask the favor of you 
to adopt the safest course which circumstances offer. You will 
have seen by the newspapers that there is a decided ascendancy 
of the republican party in nearly all the states. Connecticut de 
cidedly so. It is thought the elections of this month in Massa 
chusetts will at length arrange that recreant state on the republi 
can side. Maryland is doubtful, and Delaware only decidedly 
Anglican ; for the term federalist is nearly laid aside, and the 
distinction begins to be in name, what it always was in fact, that 
is to say Anglican and American. There are some turbid appear 
ances in Congress. A quondam colleague of yours, who had ac 
quired some distinction and favor in the public eye is throwing 
it away by endeavouring to obtain his end by rallying an opposi 
tion to the administration. This error has already ruined some 
among us, and will ruin others who do not perceive that it is the 
steady abuse of power in other governments which renders that 


of opposition always the popular party. I imagine you receive 
the newspapers and these will give you everything which I know ; 
so I will only add the assurances of my constant affection & 


MONTICELLO, May 17, 1818. 

DEAR SIR, I was so unfortunate as not to receive 
from Mr. Holly's own hand your favor of January the 
28th, being then at my other home. He dined only 
with my family, and left them with an impression 
which has filled me with regret that I did not partake 
of the pleasure his visit gave them. I am glad he is 
gone to Kentucky. Rational Christianity will thrive 
more rapidly there than here. They are freer from 
prejudices than we are, and bolder in grasping at truth. 
The time is not distant, though neither you nor I shall 
see it, when we shall be but a secondary people to 
them. Our greediness for wealth, and fantastical ex 
pense, have degraded, and will degrade, the minds of 
our maritime citizens. These are the peculiar vices 
of commerce. 

I had been long without hearing from you, but I 
had heard of you through a letter from Doctor Water- 
house. He wrote to reclaim against an expression of 
Mr. Wirt's, as to the commencement of motion in the 
revolutionary ball. The lawyers say that words are 
always to be expounded secundum subject am materiem, 
which, in Mr. Wirt's case, was Virginia. It would, 
moreover, be as difficult to say at what moment the 

io8 THE WRITINGS OF [1818 

Revolution began, and what incident set it in motion, 
as to fix the moment that the embryo becomes an 
animal, or the act which gives him a beginning. But 
the most agreeable part of his letter was that which 
informed me of your health, your activity, and strength 
of memory ; and the most wonderful, that which as 
sured me that you retained your industry and prompt 
ness in epistolary correspondence. Here you have 
entire advantage over me. My repugnance to the 
writing table becomes daily and hourly more deadly 
and insurmountable. In place of this has come on a 
canine appetite for reading. And I indulge it, be 
cause I see in it a relief against the tcedium senectutis ; 
a lamp to lighten my path through the dreary wilder 
ness of time before me, whose bourne I see not. 
Losing daily all interest in the things around us, 
something else is necessary to fill the void. With me 
it is reading, which occupies the mind without the 
labor of producing ideas from my own stock. 

I enter into all your doubts as to the event of the 
revolution of South America. They will succeed 
against Spain. But the dangerous enemy is within 
their own breasts. Ignorance and superstition will 
chain their minds and bodies under religious and 
military despotism. I do believe it would be better 
for them to obtain freedom by degrees only ; because 
that would by degrees bring on light and information, 
and qualify them to take charge of themselves under- 
standingly ; with more certainty, if in the meantime, 
under so much control as may keep them at peace 
with one another. Surely, it is our duty to wish them 
independence and self-government, because they wish 


it themselves, and they have the right, and we none, 
to choose for themselves, and I wish, moreover, that 
our ideas may be erroneous, and theirs prove well 
founded. But these are speculations, my friend, which 
we may as well deliver over to those who are to see 
their development. We shall only be lookers on, 
from the clouds above, as now we look down on the 
labors, the hurry and bustle of the ants and bees. 
Perhaps in that super-mundane region, we may be 
amused with seeing the fallacy of our own guesses, 
and even the nothingness of those labors which have 
filled and agitated our own time here. 

En attendant, with sincere affections to Mrs. Adams 
and yourself, I salute you both cordially. 


MQNTICELLO, May 28. 18. 

DEAR SIR, Our fathers taught us an excellent maxim ' never 
to put off to tomorrow what you can do today.' By some of their 
degenerate sons this has been reversed by never doing today what 
we can put off to tomorrow. For example I have been more than 
a year intending to send you a Merino ram, next week, and week 
after week it has been put off still to next week, which, like to 
morrow was never present. I now however send you one of full 
blood, born of my imported ewe of the race called Aquerres, by 
the imported ram of the Paular race which belonged to the Prince 
of peace, was sold by order of the Junto of Estremadura, was 
purchased and sent to me 1810, by Mr Jarvis our Consul at 
Lisbon. The Paular's are deemed the finest race in Spain for size 
& wool taken together, the aquerres superior to all in wool, but 
small. Supposing the season with you has not yet given you 
peas, the opportunity has inticed me to send you a mess. I have 

1 From the original in the possession of the Virginia Historical Society. 


not yet communicated your hospitable message to Mr. Madison 
but shall soon have an opportunity of doing it. To my engage 
ment I must annex a condition that in case of an adjournment 
to Charlottesville you make Monticello your headquarters. But 
in my opinion we should not adjourn at all, and to any other 
place rather than either of those in competition. I think the 
opinion of the legislature strongly implied in their avoiding both 
these places, and calling us to one between both. My own opinion 
will be against any adjournment, as long as we can get bread & 
water & a floor to lie on at the gap & particularly against one 
Westwardly, because there we shall want water. But my informa 
tion is that we shall be tolerably off at the Gap. That they have 
40 lodging rooms and are now making ample preparations. A 
waggon load of beds has passed thro' Charlottesville, which at 
that season however we shall not need. I will certainly however 
pay you a visit, probably on the day after our meeting (Sunday) 
as we shall not yet have entered on business. Be so good as to 
present my respects to Mrs Stuart and to be assured of my 
constant friendship. 


MONTICELLO, June 25. 18. 

DEAR GENERAL, A life so much employed in public as yours 
has been, must subject you often to be appealed to for facts 
by those whom they concern. An occasion occurs to myself 
of asking this kind of aid from your memory & documents. 
The posthumous volume of Wilson's Ornithology, altho' pub 
lished some time since, never happened to be seen by me until a 
few days ago. In the account of his life, prefixed to that volume 
his biographer indulges himself in a bitter invective against me, 
as having refused to employ Wilson on Pike's expedition to the 
Arkansas, on which particularly he wished to have been em 
ployed. On turning to my papers I have not a scrip of a pen on 
the subject of that expedition which convinces me that it was not 
one of those which emanated from myself : and if a decaying 
memory does not deceive me I think that it was ordered by your- 

1 8 1 8] THOMA S JEFFERSON, 1 1 1 

self from St. Louis, while Governor and military commander 
there ; that it was an expedition for reconnoitring the Indian and 
Spanish positions which might be within striking distance ; that 
so far from being an expedition admitting a leisurely and scien 
tific examination of the natural history of the country, it's move 
ments were to be on the alert, & too rapid to be accommodated 
to the pursuits of scientific men ; that if previously communicated 
to the Executive, it was not in time for them, from so great a 
distance, to have joined scientific men to it ; nor is it probable it 
could be known at all to Mr. Wilson and to have excited his 
wishes and expectations to join it. If you will have the goodness 
to consult your memory and papers on this subject, & to write me 
the result you will greatly oblige me. 

My retirement placed me at once in a state of such pleasing 
freedom and tranquility, that I determined never more to take 
any concern in public affairs, but to consider myself merely as a 
passenger in the public vessel, placed under the pilotage of 
others, in whom too my confidence was entire. I therefore dis 
continued all correspondence on public subjects, and was satis 
fied to hear only so much as true or false, as a newspaper or two 
could give me. In these I sometimes saw matters of much con 
cern, and particularly that of your retirement. A witness myself 
of the merit of your services while I was in a situation to know 
and to feel their benefit, I made no enquiry into the circumstances 
which terminated them, whether moving from yourself or others. 
With the assurance however that my estimate of their value re 
mains unaltered, I pray you to accept that of my great and 
continued esteem and respect. 




DEAR SIR, Totally withdrawn from all attention to public 
affairs, & void of all anxiety about them as reposing entire con 
fidence in those who administer them, I am led to some remarks 
on a particular subject by having heretofore taken some concern 

ii2 THE WRITINGS OF [1818 

in it, and I should not do it even now but for information that you 
had turned your attention to it at the last session of Congress, 
and meant to do it again at the ensuing one. 

When Mr. Dallas's Tariff first appeared in the public papers, 
I observed that among his reforms, none was proposed on the 
most exceptionable article in Mr. Hamilton's original Tariff, I 
mean that of wines. I think it a great error to consider a heavy 
tax on wines, as a tax on luxury. On the contrary it is a tax on 
the health of our citizens. It is a legislative declaration that none 
but the richest of them shall be permitted to drink wine, and in 
effect a condemnation of all the middling & lower conditions of 
society to the poison of whisky, which is destroying them by 
wholesale, and ruining their families. Whereas were the duties 
on the cheap wines proportioned to their first cost the whole 
middling class of this country could have the gratification of that 
milder stimulus, and a great proportion of them would go into 
it's use and banish the baneful whisky. Surely it is not from the 
necessities of our treasury that we thus undertake to debar the 
mass of our citizens the use of not only an innocent gratification, 
but a healthy substitute instead of a bewitching poison. This 
aggression on the public taste and comfort has been ever deemed 
among the most arbitrary & oppressive abuses of the English 
government. It is one which I hope we shall never copy. But 
the truth is that the treasury would gain in the long run by the 
vast extension of the use of the article. I should therefore be 
for encouraging the use of wine by placing it among the articles 
of lightest duty. But be this as it may, take what rate of duty is 
thought proper, but carry it evenly thro' the cheap as well as the 
highest priced wines. If we take the duty on Madeira as the 
standard, it will be of about 25 per cent on the first cost, and I 
am sensible it lessens frauds to enumerate the wines known and 
used here, and to lay a specific duty on them, according to their 
known cost, but then the unknown and non enumerated should be 
admitted at the same per cent on their first cost. There are 
abundance of wines in Europe some weak, some strong, & of 
good flavor which do not cost there more than 2 cents a quart, and 
which are dutied here at 15. cents. I have myself imported wines 
which cost but 4. cents the quart and paid 15 cents duty. But an 


extraordinary inconsistence is in the following provisions of the 
Tariff. ' Claret & other wines not enumerated 

imported in bottles, per gallon 70 cents 

when imported otherwise than in bottles 25. cents 

black bottles, glass, quart, per gross 144. cents 

If a cask of wine then is imported, and the bottles brought empty 
to put it into, the wine pays 6J cents the quart, & the bottles i. 
cent, making 7^ cents a bottle. But if the same wine is put into 
the same bottles there it pays 15 cents the quart, which is a tax of 
1\ cents (more than doubling the duty) for the act of putting it 
into the bottle there, where it is so much more skilfully done and 
contributes so much to the preservation of the wine on it's 
passage, for many of the cheap wines will not bear transportation 
in the cask which stand it well enough in the bottle. This is a 
further proscription of the light wines, and giving the monopoly of 
our tables to the strong & alcoholic, such as are all but equivalent 
in their effects to whisky. It would certainly be much more for 
the health & temperance of society to encourage the use of the 
weak, rather than the strong wines. 2. cents a quart first cost, & 
\ a cent duty would give us wine at 2^ cents the bottle with the 
addition of freight & other small charges, which is but half the 
price of grog. 

These, dear Sir, are the thoughts which have long dwelt on my 
mind, and have given me the more concern as I have the more 
seen of the loathsome and fatal effects of whisky, destroying the 
fortunes, the bodies, the minds & morals of our citizens. I 
suggest them only to you, who can turn them to account if just ; 
without meaning to add the trouble of an answer to the over 
whelming labors of your office. In all cases accept the assur 
ance of my sincere esteem & high consideration. 


MONTICELLO, November 13, 1818. 

The public papers, my dear friend, announce the 
fatal event of which your letter of October the 2Oth 

VOL. X. 8 

i j 4 THE WRITINGS OF [1818 

had given me ominous foreboding. Tried myself in 
the school of affliction, by the loss of every form of 
connection which can rive the human heart, I know 
well, and feel what you have lost, what you have 
suffered, are suffering, and have yet to endure. The 
same trials have taught me that for ills so immeasur 
able, time and silence are the only medicine. I will 
not, therefore, by useless condolences, open afresh 
the sluices of your grief, nor, although mingling sin 
cerely my tears with yours, will I say a word more 
where words are vain, but that it is of some comfort 
to us both, that the term is not very distant, at which 
we are to deposit in the same cerement, our sorrows 
and suffering bodies, and to ascend in essence to an 
ecstatic meeting with the friends we have loved and 
lost, and whom we shall still love and never lose 
again. God bless you and support you under your 
heavy affliction. 


MONTICELLO, November 24, 18. 

DEAR SIR, Your letter of July 22 was most acceptable to me, 
by the distinctness of the view it presented of the state of France. 
I rejoice in the prospect that that country will so soon recover 
from the effects of the depression under which it has been labor 
ing ; and especially I rejoice in the hope of its enjoying a govern 
ment as free as perhaps the state of things will yet bear. It 
appears to me, indeed, that their constitution, as it now is, gives 
them a legislative branch more equally representative, more inde 
pendent, and certainly of more integrity, than the corresponding 
one in England. Time and experience will give what is still 
wanting, and I hope they will wait patiently for that without 
hazarding new convulsions. 


Here all is well. The President's message, delivered a few 
days ago, will have given you a correct view of the state of our 
affairs. The capture of Pensacola, which furnished so much 
speculation for European news-writers (who imagine that our 
political code, like theirs, had no chapter of morality), was noth 
ing here. In the first moment, indeed, there was a general out 
cry of condemnation of what appeared to be a wrongful aggression. 
But this was quieted at once by information that it had been 
taken without orders and would be instantly restored ; and al 
though done without orders, yet not without justifiable cause, as 
we are assured will be satisfactorily shown. This manifestation 
of the will of our citizens to countenance no injustice towards a 
foreign nation filled me with comfort as to our future course. 

Emigration to the West and South is going on beyond anything 
imaginable. The President told me lately that the sales of public 
lands within the last year would amount to ten millions of dollars. 
There is one only passage in his message which -I disapprove, and 
which I trust will not be approved by our legislature. It is that 
which proposes to subject the Indians to our laws without their 
consent A little patience and a little money are so rapidly pro 
ducing their voluntary removal across the Mississippi, that I hope 
this immorality will not be permitted to stain our history. He 
has certainly been surprised into this proposition, so little in con 
cord with our principles of government. 

My strength has been sensibly declining the last few years, and 
my health greatly broken by an illness of three months, from 
which I am but now recovering. I have been able to get on 
horseback within these three or four days, and trust that my con 
valescence will now be steady. I am to write you a letter on the 
subject of my friend Cathalan, a very intimate friend of three and 
thirty years' standing, and a servant of the United States of near 
forty years. I am aware that his office is coveted by another, 
and suppose it possible that intrigue may have been employed to 
get him removed. But I know him too well not to pronounce him 
incapable of such misconduct as ought to overweigh the long 
course of his services to the United States. I confess I should 
feel with great sensibility a disgrace inflicted on him at this period 
of life. But on this subject I must write to you more fully when 


I shall have more strength, for as yet I sit at the writing table 
with great pain. 

I am obliged to usurp the protection of your cover for my let 
ters a trouble, however, which will be rare hereafter. My pack 
age is rendered more bulky on this occasion by a book I transmit 
for M. Tracy. It is a translation of his Economic politique, which 
we have made and published here in the hope of advancing our 
countrymen somewhat in that science ; the most profound igno 
rance of which threatened irreparable disaster during the late 
war, and by the parasite institutions of banks is now consuming 
the public industry. The flood with which they are deluging us 
of nominal money has placed us completely without any certain 
measure of value, and, by interpolating a false measure, is deceiv 
ing and ruining multitudes of our citizens. 

I hope your health, as well as Mrs. Gallatin's, continues good, 
and that whether you serve us there or here, you will long con 
tinue to us your services. Their value and their need are fully 
understood and appreciated. I salute you with constant and 
affectionate friendship and respect. 


MONTICELLO, December 4, 1818. 

DEAR SIR, Yours of November the 8th has been 
some time received ; but it is in my power to give 
little satisfaction as to its inquiries. Dr. Franklin 
had many political enemies, as every character must, 
which, with decision enough to have opinions, has 
energy and talent to give them effect on the feelings 
of the adversary opinion. These enmities were chiefly 
in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. In the former, 
they were merely of the proprietary party. In the 
latter, they did not commence till the Revolution, and 
then sprung chiefly from personal animosities, which 

1 8 1 8] THOMA S JEFFERSON. i T 7 

spreading by little and little, became at length of some 
extent. Dr. Lee was his principal calumniator, a man 
of much malignity, who, besides enlisting his whole 
family in the same hostility, was enabled, as the agent 
of Massachusetts with the British government, to in 
fuse it into that State with considerable effect. Mr. 
Izard, the Doctor's enemy also, but from a pecuniary 
transaction, never countenanced these charges against 
him. Mr. Jay, Silas Deane, Mr. Laurens, his col 
leagues also, ever maintained towards him unlimited 
confidence and respect. That he would have waived 
the formal recognition of our independence, I never 
heard on any authority worthy notice. As to the 
fisheries, England was urgent to retain them exclu 
sively, France neutral, and I believe, that had they 
been ultimately made a sine quA non, our commis 
sioners (Mr. Adams excepted) would have relin 
quished them, rather than have broken off the treaty. 
To Mr. Adams' perseverance alone, on that point, I 
have always understood we were indebted for their 
reservation. As to the charge of subservience to 
France, besides the evidence of his friendly colleagues 
before named, two years of my own service with him 
at Paris, daily visits, and the most friendly and confi 
dential conversation, convince me it had not a shadow 
of foundation. He possessed the confidence of that 
government in the highest degree, insomuch, that it 
may truly be said, that they were more under his in 
fluence, than he under theirs. The fact is, that his 
temper was so amiable and conciliatory, his conduct 
so rational, never urging impossibilities, or even 


things unreasonably inconvenient to them, in short, 
so moderate and attentive to their difficulties, as well 
as our own, that what his enemies called subservi 
ency, I saw was only that reasonable disposition, 
which, sensible that advantages are not all to be on 
one side, yielding what is just and liberal, is the more 
certain of obtaining liberality and justice. Mutual 
confidence produces, of course, mutual influence, and 
this was all which subsisted between Dr. Franklin and 
the government of France. 

I state a few anecdotes of Dr. Franklin, 1 within my 

" Our revolutionary process as is well known, commenced by petitions, 
memorials, remonstrances &c. from the old Congress. These were followed by 
a non-importation agreement, as a pacific instrument of coercion. While that 
was before us, and sundry exceptions, as of arms, ammunition &c. were moved 
from different quarters of the house, I was sitting by Dr. Franklin and observed 
to him that I thought we should except books : that we ought not to exclude 
science, even coming from an enemy. He thought so too, and I proposed the 
exception, which was agreed to. Soon after it occurred that medicine should 
be excepted, & I suggested that also to the Doctor. ' As to that,' said he ' I 
will tell you a story. When I was in London, in such a year, there was a 
weekly club of Physicians, of which St. John Pringle was President, and I was 
invited by my friend Dr. Fothergill to attend when convenient. Their rule 
was to propose a thesis one week, and discuss it the next. I happened there 
when the question to be considered was whether Physicians had, on the whole, 
done most good or harm ? The young members, particularly, having discussed 
it very learnedly and eloquently till the subject was exhausted, one of them 
observed to St. John Pringle, that, altho" it was not usual for the President to 
take part in a debate, yet they were desirous to know his opinion on the ques 
tion. He said, they must first tell him whether, under the appellation of Physi 
cians, they meant to include old women ; if they did, he thought they had done 
more good than harm, otherwise more harm than good.' 

" The confederation of the States, while on the carpet before the old Con 
gress, was strenuously opposed by the smaller states, under apprehensions that 
they would be swallowed up by the larger ones. We were long engaged in the 
discussion ; it produced great heats, much ill humor, and intemperate declara 
tions from some members. Dr. Franklin at length brought the debate to a 
close with one of his little apologues. He observed that ' at the time of the 
Union of England & Scotland, the Duke of Argyle was most violently opposed 


own knowledge, too much in detail for the scale of 
Delaplaine's work, but which may find a cadre in 
some of the more particular views you contemplate. 
My health is in a great measure restored, and our 
family join with me in affectionate recollections and 
assurances of respect. 


MONTICELLO, January 12, 1819. 

DEAR SIR, The problem you had wished to propose to me 
was one which I could not have solved ; for I knew nothing of 

to that measure, and among other things predicted that, as the whale had 
swallowed Jonas, so Scotland would be swallowed by England. However,' said 
the Doctor, ' when Ld. Bute came into the government, he soon brought into it's 
administration so many of his countrymen that it was found in event that 
Jonas swallowed the whale.' This little story produced a general laugh, re 
stored good humor, & the Article of difficulty was passed. 

" When Dr. Franklin went to France on his revolutionary mission, his emi 
nence as a philosopher, his venerable appearance, and the cause on which he 
was sent, rendered him extremely popular. For all ranks and conditions of 
men there, entered warmly into the American interest. He was therefore 
feasted and invited to all the court parties. At these he sometimes met the old 
Duchess of Bourbon, who being a chess player of about his force, they very gen 
erally played together. Happening once to put her king into prise, the Doctor 
took it. ' Ah,' says she, ' we do not take kings so.' ' We do in America," said 
the Doctor. 

"At one of these parties, the emperor Joseph II, then at Paris, incog, under 
the title of Count Falkenstein, was overlooking the game, in silence, while the 
company was engaged in animated conversations on the American question. 
' How happens it M. le Comte,' said the Duchess, ' that while we all feel 
so much interest in the cause of the Americans, you say nothing for them ' ? 'I 
am a king by trade,' said he. 

" When the Declaration of Independence was under the consideration of 
Congress, there were two or three unlucky expressions in it which gave offence 
to some members. The words ' Scotch and other foreign auxiliaries ' excited 
the ire of a gentleman or two' of that country. Severe strictures on the con 
duct of the British king, in negativing our repeated repeals of the law which per 
mitted the importation of slaves, were disapproved by some Southern gentlemen 
whose reflections were not yet matured to the full abhorrence of that traffic. 

120 THE WRITINGS OF [1819 

the facts. I read no newspaper now but Ritchie's, and in that 
chiefly the advertisements, for they contain the only truths to be 
relied on in a newspaper. I feel a much greater interest in know 
ing what has passed two or three thousand years ago, than in 
what is now passing. I read nothing, therefore, but of the heroes 
of Troy, of the wars of Lacedaemon and Athens, of Pompey and 
Caesar, and of Augustus too, the Bonaparte and parricide scoun 
drel of that day. I have had. and still have, such entire confi 
dence in the late and present Presidents, that I willingly put both 
soul and body into their pockets. While such men as yourself 
and your worthy colleagues of the legislature, and such characters 

Altho' the offensive expressions were immediately yielded, these gentlemen con 
tinued their depredations on other parts of the instrument. I was sitting by 
Dr. Franklin who perceived that I was not insensible to these mutilations. ' I 
have made it a rule," said he, ' whenever in my power, to avoid becoming the 
draughtsman of papers to be reviewed by a public body. I took my lesson 
from an incident which I will relate to you. When I was a journeyman printer, 
one of my companions, an apprentice Hatter, having served out his time, was 
about to open shop for himself, his first concern was to have a handsome sign 
board, with a proper inscription. He composed it in these words ' John 
Thompson, Halter, makes and sells hats for ready money' with a figure of 
a hat subjoined. But he thought he would submit it to his friends for their 
amendments. The first he shewed it to thought the word ' Hatter ' tautolo- 
gous, because followed by the words ' makes hats ' which shew he was a Hat 
ter. It was struck out. The next observed that the word 'makes' might as 
well be omitted, because his customers would not care who made the hats. If good 
& to their mind, they would buy by whomsoever made. He struck it out. A 
third said he thought the words "for ready money' were useless as it was not 
the custom of the place to sell on credit. Every one who purchased expected 
to pay. They were parted with, and the inscription now stood ' John Thomp 
son sells hats.' ' sells hats ' says his next friend ? ' Why nobody will expect you 
to give them away. What then is the use of that word ? ' It was stricken out, 
and ' hats ' followed it, the rather as there was one painted on the board. So 
his inscription was reduced ultimately to ' John Thompson ' with the figure of a 
hat subjoined. 

" The Doctor told me, at Paris, the two following anecdotes of Abbe Ray- 
nal. He had a party to dine with him one day at Passy of whom one half were 
Americans, the other half French & among the last was the Abbe. During the 
dinner he got on his favorite theory of the degeneracy of animals and even 
of man, in America, and urged it with his usual eloquence. The Doctor 
at length noticing the accidental stature and positions of his guests, at table, 
1 Come ' says he, ' M. L'Abbe, let us try this question by the fact before us. 

1 819] THOMAS JEFFERSON. 1 2 1 

as compose the executive administration, are watching for us all, 
I slumber without fear, and review in my dreams the visions of 
antiquity. There is, indeed, one evil which awakens me at times, 
because it jostles me at every turn. It is that we have now no 
measure of value. I am asked eighteen dollars for a yard of broad 
cloth, which, when we had dollars, I used to get for eighteen shil 
lings ; from this I can only understand that a dollar is now worth 
but two inches of broadcloth, but broadcloth is no standard of 
measure or value. I do not know, therefore, whereabouts I stand 
in the scale of property, nor what to ask, or what to give for it. I 
saw, indeed, the like machinery in action in the years '80 and '81, 
and without dissatisfaction ; because in wearing out, It was work- 

We are here one half Americans, & one half French, and it happens that the 
Americans have placed themselves on one side of the table, and our French 
friends are on the other. Let both parties rise and we will see on which side na 
ture has degenerated.' It happened that his American guests were Carmichael, 
Harmer, Humphreys and others of the finest stature and form, while those of 
the other side were remarkably diminutive, and the Abbe himself particularly 
was a mere shrimp. He parried the appeal however, by a complimentary 
admission of exceptions, among which the Doctor himself was a conspicu 
ous one. 

" The Doctor & Silas Deane were in conversation one day at Passy on the 
numerous errors in the Abbe's Histoire des deux Indes, when he happened to 
step in. After the usual salutations, Silas Deane said to him ' The Doctor 
and myself Abbe, were just speaking of the errors of fact into which you have 
been led in your history.' ' Oh no, Sir,' said the Abbe, ' that is impossible. I 
took the greatest care not to insert a single fact, for which I had not the most 
unquestionable authority.' 'Why,' says Deane, 'there is the story of Polly 
Baker, and the eloquent apology you have put into her mouth, when brought 
before a court of Massachusetts to suffer punishment under a law, which you 
cite, for having had a bastard. I know there never was such a law in Massa 
chusetts.' ' Be assured,' said the Abbe, ' you are mistaken, and that that is a 
true story. I do not immediately recollect indeed the particular information on 
which I quote it, but I am certain that I had for it unquestionable author 
ity.' Doctor Franklin who had been for some time shaking with restrained 
laughter at the Abbe's confidence in his authority for that tale, said, ' I will 
tell you. Abbe, the origin of that story. When I was a printer and editor of a 
newspaper, we were sometimes slack of news, and to amuse our customers, I 
used to fill up our vacant columns with anecdotes, and fables, and fancies of 
my own, and this of Polly Baker is a story of my making, on one of those occa 
sions.' The Abbe without the least disconcert, exclaimed with a laugh, ' Oh, 
very well, Doctor, I had rather relate your stories than other men's truths.' " 

122 THE WRITINGS OF [1819 

ing out our salvation. But I see nothing in this renewal of the 
game of " Robin's alive " but a general demoralization of the na 
tion, a niching from industry its honest earnings, wherewith to 
build up palaces, and raise gambling stock for swindlers and 
shavers, who are to close too their career of piracies by fraudulent 
bankruptcies. My dependence for a remedy, however, is with 
the wisdom which grows with time and suffering. Whether the 
succeeding generation is to be more virtuous than their prede 
cessors, I cannot say ; but I am sure they will have more worldly 
wisdom, and enough, I hope, to know that honesty is the first 
chapter in the book of wisdom. I have made a great exertion to 
write you thus much ; my antipathy to taking up a pen being so 
intense that I have never given you a stronger proof, than in the 
effort of writing a letter, how much I value you, and of the super 
lative respect and friendship with which I salute you. 


MONTICELLO, Jan. 18. 19. 

You oblige me infinitely, dear Sir, by sending me the Congres 
sional documents in pamphlet form. For as they come out by 
piece-meal in the newspapers I never read them. And indeed I 
read no newspapers now but Ritchie's, and in that chiefly the ad 
vertisements, as being the only truths we can rely on in a news 
paper. But in a pamphlet, where we can go thro' the whole 
subject when once taken up, and seen in all it's parts, we avoid 
the risk of false judgment which a partial view endangers. On 
the subject of these communications, I will venture a suggestion 
which, should it have occurred to yourself or to Mr. Adams as is 
probable, will only be a little labor lost. I propose then that you 
select Mr. Adams's 4. principal letters on the Spanish subject, to 
wit, that which establishes our right to the Rio- bravo which was 
laid before the Congress of 1817 .18. His letters to Onis of July 
23. & Nov. 30. and to Erving of Nov. 28 perhaps also that of 
Dec. 2. Have them well translated into French, and send Eng 
lish & French copies to all our ministers at foreign courts, and to 
our consuls. The paper on our right to the Rio-bravo, and the 


letter to Erving of Nov. 28. are the most important and are 
among the ablest compositions I have ever seen, both as to logic 
and style. A selection of these few in pamphlet form will be read 
by every body ; but, by nobody, if buried among Onis's long- 
winded and tergiversating diatribes, and all the documents ; the 
volume of which alone will deter an European reader from ever 
opening it. Indeed it would be worth while to have the two most 
important of these published in the Leyden gazette, from which 
it would go into the other leading gazettes of Europe. It is of 
great consequence to us, & merits every possible endeavor, to 
maintain in Europe a correct opinion of our political morality. 
These papers will place the event with the world in the important 
cases of our Western boundary, of our military entrance into 
Florida, & of the execution of Arbuthnot and Ambrister. On 
the two first subjects it is very natural for an European to go 
wrong, and to give into the charge of ambition, which the English 
papers (read every where) endeavor to fix on us. If the European 
mind is once set right on these points, they will go with us in all 
the subsequent proceedings, without further enquiry. 

While on the subject of this correspondence, I will presume 
also to suggest to Mr. Adams the question whether he should not 
send back Onis's letters in which he has the impudence to qualify 
you by the term ' his Excellency ' ? An American gentleman in 
Europe can rank with the first nobility because we have no titles 
which stick him at any particular place in their line. So the 
President of the US. under that designation ranks with Emperors 
and kings, but add Mr. Onis's courtesy of ' his Excellency ' and 
he is then on a level with Mr. Onis himself, with the Governors 
of provinces and even of every petty fort in Europe, or the colo 
nies. I salute you with constant affection & respect. 


MONTICELLO, Jan. 31. 19. 

DEAR SIR, Your favor of the isth was received on the 27th, 
and I am glad to find the name and character of Samuel Adams 
coming forward and in so good hands as I suppose them to be. 

i2 4 THE WRITINGS OF [1819 

But I have to regret that I can add no facts to the stores pos 
sessed. I was the youngest man but one in the old Congress, and 
he the oldest but one, as I believe. His only senior, I suppose, 
was Stephen Hopkins, of and by whom the honorable mention 
made in your letter was richly merited. Altho' my high rever 
ence for Samuel Adams was returned by habitual notices from 
him which highly flattered me, yet the disparity of age prevented 
intimate and confidential communications. I always considered 
him as more than any other member the fountain of our important 
measures. And altho' he was neither an eloquent nor easy 
speaker, whatever he said was sound, and commanded the pro 
found attention of the House. In the discussions on the floor 
of Congress he reposed himself on our main pillar in debate 
Mr. John Adams. These two gentlemen were verily a host in 
our councils. Comparisons with their associates, Northern or 
Southern, would answer no profitable purpose, but they would 
suffer by comparison with none. I salute you with perfect esteem 
& respect. 


MONTICELLO, Mar. 3. 19. 

DEAR SIR, I promised your gardener some seeds 
which I put under a separate cover and address to 
you by mail. I also inclose you a letter from Mr. 
Cabell which will shew you that the ' sour grapes ' of 
Wm. & Mary are spreading ; but certainly not to the 
'enlightened part of society' as the letter supposes. 
I have sent him a transcript from our journals that 
he may see how far we are under engagements to Dr. 
Cooper. I observe Ritchie imputes to you and my 
self opinions against Jackson's conduct in the Semi- 
nole war. I certainly never doubted that the military 
entrance into Florida, the temporary occupation of 
their posts, and the execution of Arbuthnot & Am- 


brister were all justifiable. If I had ever doubted P. 
Barber's speech would have brought me to rights. 
I at first felt regret at the execution ; but I have 
ceased to feel [torn] on mature reflection, and a 
belief the example will save much blood. Affection 
ately yours. 

P. S. On my return I fell in with Mr. Watson 
who signed our proceedings. 


MONTICELLO, March 21, 1819 

SIR, Your letter of February the i8th came to 
hand on the ist instant ; and the request of the 
history of my physical habits would have puzzled me 
not a little, had it not been for the model with which 
you accompanied it, of Doctor Rush's answer to a 
similar inquiry. I live so much like other people, 
that I might refer to ordinary life as the history of 
my own. Like my friend the Doctor, I have lived 
temperately, eating little animal food, and that not as 
an aliment, so much as a condiment for the vege 
tables, which constitute my principal diet. I double, 
however, the Doctor's glass and a half of wine, and 
even treble it with a friend ; but halve its effects by 
drinking the weak wines only. The ardent wines I 
cannot drink, nor do I use ardent spirits in any form. 
Malt liquors and cider are my table drinks, and my 
breakfast, like that also of my friend, is of tea and 
coffee. I have been blest with organs of digestion 
which accept and concoct, without ever murmuring, 

126 THE WRITINGS OF [1819 

whatever the palate chooses to consign to them, and 
I have not yet lost a tooth by age. I was a hard 
student until I entered on the business of life, the 
duties of which leave no idle time to those disposed 
to fulfil them; and now, retired, and at the age of 
seventy-six, I am again a hard student. Indeed, my 
fondness for reading and study revolts me from the 
drudgery of letter writing. And a stiff wrist, the con 
sequence of an early dislocation, makes writing both 
slow and painful. I am not so regular in my sleep as 
the Doctor says he was, devoting to it from five to 
eight hours, according as my company or the book I 
am reading interests me ; and I never go to bed with 
out an hour, or half hour's previous reading of some 
thing moral, whereon to ruminate in the intervals of 
sleep. But whether I retire to bed early or late, I 
rise with the sun. I use spectacles at night, but not 
necessarily in the day, unless in reading small print. 
My hearing is distinct in particular conversation, but 
confused when several voices cross each other, which 
unfits me for the society of the table. I have been 
more fortunate than my friend in the article of health. 
So free from catarrhs that I have not had one, (in 
the breast, I mean) on an average of eight or ten 
years through life. I ascribe this exemption partly 
to the habit of bathing my feet in cold water every 
morning, for sixty years past. A fever of more than 
twenty-four hours I have not had above two or three 
times in my life. A periodical headache has afflicted 
me occasionally, once, perhaps, in six or eight years, 
for two or three weeks at a time, which seems now 

i8i 9 ] THOMAS JEFFERSON. 127 

to have left me ; and except on a late occasion of in 
disposition, I enjoy good health ; too feeble, indeed, 
to walk much, but riding without fatigue six or eight 
miles a day, and sometimes thirty or forty. I may 
end these egotisms, therefore, as I began, by saying 
that my life has been so much like that of other 
people, that I might say with Horace, to every one 
'''nomine mutato, narratur fabula de te" I must not 
end, however, without due thanks for the kind senti 
ments of regard you are so good as to express to 
wards myself ; and with my acknowledgments for 
these, be pleased to accept the assurances of my 
respect and esteem. 


MONTICELLO, May 12, 1819. 

SIR, An absence of some time at an occasional and distant 
residence must apologize for the delay in acknowledging the re 
ceipt of your favor of April i2th. And candor obliges me to add 
that it has been somewhat extended by an aversion to writing, 
as well as to calls on my memory for facts so much obliterated 
from it by time as to lessen my confidence in the traces which 
seem to remain. One of the inquiries in your letter, however, 
may be answered without an appeal to the memory. It is that 
respecting the question whether committees of correspondence 
originated in Virginia or Massachusetts ? On which you suppose 
me to have claimed it for Virginia. But certainly I have never 
made such a claim. The idea, I suppose, has been taken up 
from what is said in Wirt's history of Mr. Henry, p. 87, and from 
an inexact attention to its precise term. It is there said " this 
house [of burgesses of Virginia] had the merit of originating that 
powerful engine of resistance, corresponding committees between 
the legislatures of the different colonies." That the fact as here 
expressed is true, your letter bears witness when it says that 

i 2 8 THE WRITINGS OF [1819. 

the resolutions of Virginia for this purpose were transmitted 
to the speakers of the different Assemblies, and by that of Massa 
chusetts was laid at the next session before that body, who ap 
pointed a committee for the specified object : adding, " thus in 
Massachusetts there "were two committees of correspondence, one 
chosen by the people, the other appointed by the House of As 
sembly ; in the former, Massachusetts preceded Virginia ; in the 
latter, Virginia preceded Massachusetts." To the origination of 
committees for the interior correspondence between the counties 
and towns of a State, I know of no claim on the part of Virginia ; 
but certainly none was ever made by myself. I perceive, how 
ever, one error into which memory had led me. Our committee 
for national correspondence was appointed in March, '73, and I 
well remember that going to Williamsburg in the month of June 
following, Peyton Randolph, our chairman, told me that mes 
sengers, bearing despatches between the two States, had crossed 
each other by the way ; that of Virginia carrying our propositions 
for a committee of national correspondence, and that of Massa 
chusetts bringing, as my memory suggested, a similar proposi 
tion. But here I must have misremembered ; and the resolutions 
brought us from Massachusetts were probably those you mention 
of the town meeting of Boston, on the motion of Mr. Samuel 
Adams, appointing a committee " to state the rights of the colo 
nists, and of that province in particular, and the infringements 
of them, to communicate them to the several towns, as the sense 
of the town of Boston, and to request of each town a free com 
munication of its sentiments on this subject " ? I suppose, there 
fore, that these resolutions were not received, as you think, while 
the House of Burgesses was in session in March, 1773 ; but a few 
days after we rose, and were probably what was sent by the 
messenger who crossed ours by the way. They may, however, 
have been still different. I must therefore have been mistaken in 
supposing and stating to Mr. Wirt, that the proposition of a com 
mittee for national correspondence was nearly simultaneous in 
Virginia and Massachusetts. 

A similar misapprehension of another passage in Mr. Wirt's 
book, for which I am also quoted, has produced a similar reclam 
ation of the part of Massachusetts by some of her most distin- 


guished and estimable citizens. I had been applied to by Mr. 
Wirt for such facts respecting Mr. Henry, as my intimacy with 
him, and participation in the transactions of the day, might have 
placed within my knowledge. I accordingly committed them 
to paper, and Virginia being the theatre of his action, was the 
only subject within my contemplation, while speaking of him. 
Of the resolutions and measures here, in which he had the ac 
knowledged lead, I used the expression that " Mr. Henry certainly 
gave the first impulse to the ball of revolution." [Wirt, p. 41.] 
The expression is indeed general, and in all its extension would 
comprehend all the sister States. But indulgent construction 
would restrain it, as was really meant, to the subject matter un 
der contemplation, which was Virginia alone ; according to the 
rule of the lawyers, and a fair canon of general criticism, that 
every expression should be construed secundum subjectam mate- 
riem. Where the first attack was made, there must have been 
of course, the first act of resistance, and that was of Massachu 
setts. Our first overt act of war was Mr. Henry's embodying a 
force of militia from several counties, regularly armed and organ 
ized, marching them in military array, and making reprisal on 
the King's treasury at the seat of government for the public 
powder taken away by his Governor. This was on the last days 
of April, 1775. Your formal battle of Lexington was ten or 
twelve days before that, which greatly overshadowed in import 
ance, as it preceded in time our little affray, which merely amounted 
to a levying of arms against the King, and very possibly you had 
had military affrays before the regular battle of Lexington. 

These explanations will, I hope, assure you, Sir, that so far as 
either facts or opinions have been truly quoted from me they 
have never been meant to intercept the just fame of Massachu 
setts, for the promptitude and perseverance of her early resistance. 
We willingly cede to her the laud of having been (although not 
exclusively) " the cradle of sound principles," and if some of us 
believe she has deflected from them in her course, we retain full 
confidence in her ultimate return to them. 

I will now proceed to your quotation from Mr. Galloway's 
statements of what passed in Congress on their declaration of 
independence, in which statement there is not one word of truth, 

1 3 o THE WRITINGS OF [1819 

and where, bearing some resemblance to truth, it is an entire per 
version of it. I do not charge this on Mr. Galloway himself ; his 
desertion having taken place long before these measures, he 
doubtless received his information from some of the loyal friends 
whom he left behind him. But as yourself, as well as others, ap 
pear embarrassed by inconsistent accounts of the proceedings on 
that memorable occasion, and as those who have endeavored to 
restore the truth have themselves committed some errors, I will 
give you some extracts from a written document on that subject, 
for the truth of which I pledge myself to heaven and earth ; hav 
ing, while the question of independence was under consideration 
before Congress, taken written notes, in my seat, of what was 
passing, and reduced them to form on the final conclusion. I 
have now before me that paper, from which the following are 
extracts : * * * 

Governor McKean, in his letter to McCorkle of July i6th, 1817, 
has thrown some lights on the transactions of that day, but trust 
ing to his memory chiefly at an age when our memories are not 
to be trusted, he has confounded two questions, and ascribed 
proceedings to one which belonged to the other. These two 
questions were, i. The Virginia motion of June yth to declare 
independence, and 2. The actual declaration, its matter and form. 
Thus he states the question on the declaration itself as decided 
on the ist of July. But it was the Virginia motion which was 
voted on that day in committee of the whole ; South Carolina, as 
well as Pennsylvania, then voting against it. But the ultimate 
decision in the House on the report of the committee being by 
request postponed to the next morning, all the States voted for it, 
except New York, whose vote was delayed for the reason before 
stated. It was not till the 2d of July that the declaration itself 
was taken up, nor till the 4th that it was decided ; and it was 
signed by every member present, except Mr. Dickinson. 

The subsequent signatures of members who were not then 
present, and some of them not yet in office, is easily explained, if 
we observe who they were ; to wit, that they were of New York 
and Pennsylvania. New York did not sign till the isth, because 

1 See Vol. I., p. 18, for the document here omitted. 


it was not till the pth, (five days after the general signature,) that 
their convention authorized them to do so. The convention of 
Pennsylvania, learning that it had been signed by a minority only 
of their delegates, named a new delegation on the zoth, leaving 
out Mr. Dickinson, who had refused to sign, Willing and Hum 
phreys who had withdrawn, reappointing the three members who 
had signed, Morris who had not been present, and five new ones, 
to wit, Rush, Clymer, Smith, Taylor and Ross ; and Morris and 
the five new members were permitted to sign, because it mani 
fested the assent of their full delegation, and the express will of 
their convention, which might have been doubted on the former 
signature of a minority only. Why the signature of Thornton of 
New Hampshire was permitted so late as the 4th of November, I 
cannot now say ; but undoubtedly for some particular reason which 
we should find to have been good, had it been expressed. These 
were the only post-signers, and you see, Sir, that there were solid 
reasons for receiving those of New York and Pennsylvania, and 
that this circumstance in no wise affects the faith of this declara 
tory charter of our rights and of the rights of man. 

With a view to correct errors of fact before they become in 
veterate by repetition, I have stated what I find essentially ma 
terial in my papers ; but with that brevity which the labor of 
writing constrains me to use. 

On the fourth particular articles of inquiry in your letter, re 
specting your grandfather, the venerable Samuel Adams, neither 
memory nor memorandums enable me to give any information. 
I can say that he was truly a great man, wise in council, fertile 
in resources, immovable in his purposes, and had, I think, a 
greater share than any other member, in advising and directing 
our measures, in the northern war especially. As a speaker he 
could not be compared with his living colleague and namesake, 
whose deep conceptions, nervous style, and undaunted firmness, 
made him truly our bulwark in debate. But Mr. Samuel 
Adams, although not of fluent elocution, was so rigorously logical, 
so clear in his views, abundant in good sense, and master always of 
his subject, that he commanded the most profound attention 
whenever he rose in an assembly by which the froth of declamation 
was heard with the most sovereign contempt. I sincerely rejoice 

132 THE WRITINGS OF [1819 

that the record of his worth is to be undertaken by one so much 
disposed as you will be to hand him down fairly to that posterity 
for whose liberty and happiness he was so zealous a laborer. 

With sentiments of sincere veneration for his memory, accept 
yourself this tribute to it with the assurances of my great respect. 

P. S. August 6th, 1822, since the date of this letter, to wit, 
this day, August 6th, '22, I received the new publication of the 
secret Journals of Congress, wherein is stated a resolution, July 
ipth, 1776, that the declaration passed on the 4th be fairly en 
grossed on parchment, and when engrossed, be signed by every 
member ; and another of August 2d, that being engrossed and 
compared at the table, was signed by the members. That is to 
say the copy engrossed on parchment (for durability) was signed 
by the members after being compared at the table with the original 
one, signed on paper as before stated. I add this P. S. to the copy 
of my letter to Mr. Wells, to prevent confounding the signature of 
the original with that of the copy engrossed on parchment. 1 

1 Jefferson further wrote to Wells : 

MONTICELLO, June 23. 19. 

DEAR SIR, Your favor of the 2d inst. has been duly received, & I answer 
your request to make use of the information given in mine of May 12 by a free 
permission, to employ it for any purpose you may think useful. You suppose 
that the fact that six colonies were not yet matured for a separation from the 
parent stock could not have been known unless a vote had been taken. Yet 
nothing easier. For the opinion of every individual was known to every one 
who had anxiety enough on the subject to scrutinize and calculate. There was 
neither concealment nor reserve on the subject on either side ; and how the 
vote of each colony would be, if then pushed to a vote was exactly ascertainable. 
Nor does the appointment of a Committee to prepare an instrument of con 
federation offer ground of doubt, for that was but a proposition to save time 
provisionally, and subject to the ultimate negative of the minority. It was 
moreover a necessary measure in the opinion of all whether permanent, or 
limited to the duration of the controversy. I certainly will not, on the authority 
of memory alone affirm facts in opposition to Mr. Galloway, Judge McKean, or 
any one else. But what I wrote on the paper from which I sent extracts to 
you, was written on the spot, in the moment, and is true ; and all that remains 
is to reconcile to that the contradictions of others by enquiring whether they 
may not have confounded different subjects, or whether after such a lapse of 
time their memory has not been more liable to err than the litera scripta. Gal 
loway can be no better authority than the common herd of passengers in the 
streets. He knew nothing but the rumors of hearsay ; for he had quitted us 



MONTICELLO, June 22. 19. 

DEAR SIR, Your favor of Mar. i. has been duly received, and 
requires my thanks for the kind offer of your services in London. 
Books are indeed with me a necessary of life ; and since I ceded 
my library to Congress, I have been annually importing from 
Paris. Not but that I need some from London also, but that they 
have risen there to such enormous prices as cannot be looked at. 
England must lose her foreign commerce in books, unless the 
taxes on it's materials are reduced. Paris now prints the most 
popular of the English books, and sells them far below the English 
price. I send there therefore for such of them as I want. We too 
reprint now such of the new English works as have merit, much 
cheaper than is done in England, but dearer than they ought to 
be. But we are now under the operation of the remedy for that. 
The enormous abuses of the banking system are not only pros 
trating our commerce, but producing revolution of property, which 
without more wisdom than we possess, will be much greater than 
were produced by the revolutionary paper. That too had the 
merit of purchasing our liberties, while the present trash has only 
furnished aliment to usurers and swindlers. The banks them- 

long before. And Mr. McKean was very old, and his memory much decayed 
when he gave his statement. 

The painting lately executed by Colo. Trumbull, I have never seen, but as 
far back as the days of Horace at least we are told that ' pictoribus atque 
poetis ; Quidlibet audendi semper fuit aequa potestas.' He has exercised this 
licentia pictoris in like manner in the surrender of York, where he has placed 
Ld. Cornwallis at the head of the surrender altho' it is well known that he was 
excused by General Washington from appearing. 

Of the return of Massachusetts to sound principles I never had a doubt. 
The body of her citizens has never been otherwise than republican. Her 
would-be dukes and lords, indeed, have been itching for coronets ; her lawyers 
for robes of ermin, her priests for lawn sleeves, and for a religious establish 
ment which might give them wealth, power, and independence of personal 
merit. But her citizens who were to supply with the sweat of their brow the 
treasures on which these drones were to riot, could never have seen any thing 
to long for in the oppressions and pauperism of England. After the shackles 
of Aristocracy of the bar & priesthood have been burst by Connecticut, we 
cannot doubt the return of Massachusetts to the bosom of the republican family. 

I repeat with pleasure the assurance of my great respect & esteem. 

134 THE WRITINGS OF [1819 

selves were doing business on capitals, three fourths of which were 
fictitious : and, to extend their profit they furnished fictitious 
capital to every man, who having nothing and disliking the labours 
of the plough, chose rather to call himself a merchant to set up a 
house of 5000. D. a year expence, to dash into every species of 
mercantile gambling, and if that ended as gambling generally does, 
a fraudulent bankruptcy was an ultimate resource of retirement and 
competence. This fictitious capital, probably of 100. millions of 
Dollars, is now to be lost, & to fall on some body ; it must take 
on those who have property to meet it, & probably on the less 
cautious part, who, not aware of the impending catastrophe have 
suffered themselves to contract, or to be in debt, and must now 
sacrifice their property of a value many times the amount of their 
debt. We have been truly sowing the wind, and are now reaping 
the whirlwind. If the present crisis should end in the annihila 
tion of these pennyless & ephemeral interlopers only, and reduce 
our commerce to the measure of our own wants and surplus pro 
ductions, it will be a benefit in the end. But how to effect this, 
and give time to real capital, and the holders of real property, to 
back out of their entanglements by degrees requires more knolege 
of Political economy than we possess. I believe it might be done, 
but I despair of it's being done. The eyes of our citizens are not 
yet sufficiently open to the true cause of our distresses. They 
ascribe them to every thing but their true cause, the banking 
system ; a system, which, if it could do good in any form, is yet 
so certain of leading to abuse, as to be utterly incompatible with 
the public safety and prosperity. At present all is confusion, 
uncertainty and panic. 

I avail myself of your kindness to put under the protection of 
your cover a letter to St. John Philippart, who requested it might 
be sent through your channel, and I salute you with affectionate 
esteem and respect. 


MONTICELLO June 27. 19. 

DEAR SIR, My letters of Jan. 5 and Nov. 10. of the last year 
had informed you generally that Genl. Kosciuzko had left a con- 


siderable sum of money in the hands of the US. and had, by a 
will deposited in my hands, disposed of it to a charitable purpose : 
& I asked the favor of your opinion in what court the will should 
be proved. According to that opinion, expressed in your favor 
of Dec. 28 I proved the will in our district court, renouncing the 
executorship. The purport of the will is that the whole funds in 
this country shall be laid out in the purchase of young negroes, 
in their education & their emancipation. I had formerly intended 
to get an admr appointed here with the will annexed, and to have 
the trust placed entirely under the direction of the court, but cir 
cumstances since occurring change my view of the case. Genl. 
Armstrong, on behalf of his son Kosciuzko Armstrong has a claim 
to 3704. D. which is well founded. A Mr. Zoeltner of Solense 
the friend in whose house Kosciuzko lived and died, claims the 
share under a will deposited with him. This I am persuaded will 
appear not to reach the property here. A relation of the Gen 
eral's has lately, through the minister of Russia, Mr. Poletika, 
claimed the whole also in right of his relationship. These claim 
ants being all foreigners, or of another state, have a right to place 
the litigation in a federal court ; and I have supposed the most 
convenient one to them would be the district court of Columbia, 
and my wish is to transfer it there, if that court will take cognis 
ance and charge of it. I suppose they would name an Admr 
with the will annexed, and that he would require the claimant to 
interplead, that the court might decide the right. I wish there 
fore in the first place to constitute you general Counsel for the 
trust. You would draw your compensation of course from the 
funds of the testator, and that you would advise me in what form 
I must apply to the court to effect the transfer. I suppose by a 
petition to them in Chancery, delivering to them the will, and the 
original certificates, which are in my hands, and amount to 
17,159.63 D. and praying to be entirely relieved and discharged 
from all further concern or responsibility. Mr. Barnes, who has 
been the agent in fact, will settle his account of transactions 
during the life of the General. I have none to settle, having 
never acted but thro' Mr. Barnes, and not meaning to charge lit 
tle incidental disbursements incurred. Will you undertake this, 
my dear Sir, and fnform me how I am to proceed ? I shall be at 

136 THE WRITINGS OF [1819 

Poplar Forest near Lynchburg before you receive this, and shal 1 
be there 3. months. But your answer will reach me there, and I 
mention it only to explain beforehand the greater delays in the 
correspondence which the greater distance of that place may 
occasion. In the hope therefore of hearing from you as soon as 
convenient, and of your aid in getting relief from this charge, 
now become too litigious for me, I salute you with constant 
friendship and respect. 


MONTICELLO, July 9, 1819. 

DEAR SIR, I am in debt to you for your letters of 
May the 2ist, 27th, and June the 22d. The first, 
delivered me by Mr. Greenwood, gave me the grati 
fication of his acquaintance ; and a gratification it 
always is, to be made acquainted with gentlemen of 
candor, worth, and information, as I found Mr. 
Greenwood to be. That, on the subject of Mr. 
Samuel Adams Wells, shall not be forgotten in time 
and place, when it can be used to his advantage. 

But what has attracted my peculiar notice, is the 
paper from Mecklenburg county, of North Carolina, 
published in the Essex Register, which you were so 
kind as to enclose in your last, of June the 22d. And 
you seem to think it genuine. I believe it spurious. 
I deem it to be a very unjustifiable quiz, like that of 
the volcano, so minutely related to us as having 
broken out in North Carolina, some half a dozen 
years ago, in that part of the country, and perhaps 
in that very county of Mecklenburg, for I do not re 
member its precise locality. If this paper be really 
taken from the Raleigh Register, as quoted, I wonder 


it should have escaped Ritchie, who culls what is 
good from every paper, as the bee from every flower ; 
and the National Intelligencer, too, which is edited 
by a North Carolinian ; and that the fire should blaze 
out all at once in Essex, one thousand miles from 
where the spark is said to have fallen. But if really 
taken from the Raleigh Register, who is the narrator, 
and is the name subscribed real, or is it as fictitious 
as the paper itself? It appeals, too, to an original 
book, which is burnt, to Mr. Alexander, who is dead, 
to a joint letter from Caswell, Hughes, and Hooper, 
all dead, to a copy sent to the dead Caswell, and 
another sent to Doctor Williamson, now probably 
dead, whose memory did not recollect, in the history 
he has written of North Carolina, this gigantic step 
of its county of Mecklenburg. Horry, too, is silent 
in his history of Marion, whose scene of action was 
the country bordering on Mecklenburg. Ramsay, 
Marshall, Jones, Girardin, Wirt, historians of the ad 
jacent States, all silent. When Mr. Henry's resolu 
tions, far short of independence, flew like lightning 
through every paper, and kindled both sides of the 
Atlantic, this flaming declaration of the same date, 
of the independence of Mecklenburg county, of North 
Carolina, absolving it from the British allegiance, and 
abjuring all political connection with that nation, al 
though sent to Congress too, is never heard of. It 
is not known even a twelvemonth after, when a simi 
lar proposition is first made in that body. Armed 
with this bold example, would not you have addressed 
our timid brethren in peals of thunder on their tardy 

138 THE WRITINGS OF [1819 

fears ? Would not every advocate of independence 
have rung the glories of Mecklenburg county in 
North Carolina, in the ears of the doubting Dickin 
son and others, who hung so heavily on us ? Yet 
the example of independent Mecklenburg county, in 
North Carolina, was never once quoted. The paper 
speaks, too, of the continued exertions of their dele 
gation (Caswell, Hooper, Hughes) " in the cause of 
liberty and independence." Now you remember as 
well as I do, that we had not a greater tory in Con 
gress than Hooper; that Hughes was very wavering, 
sometimes firm, sometimes feeble, according as the 
day was clear or cloudy ; that Caswell, indeed, was a 
good whig, and kept these gentlemen to the notch, 
while he was present ; but that he left us soon, and 
their line of conduct became then uncertain until 
Penn came, who fixed Hughes and the vote of the 
State. I must not be understood as suggesting any 
doubtfulness in the State of North Carolina. No 
State was more fixed or forward. Nor do I affirm, 
positively, that this paper is a fabrication ; because 
the proof of a negative can only be presumptive. 
But I shall believe it such until positive and solemn 
proof of its authenticity be produced. And if the 
name of McKnitt be real, and not a part of the fabri 
cation, it needs a vindication by the production of 
such proof. For the present, I must be an unbeliever 
in the apocryphal gospel. 

I am glad to learn that Mr. Ticknor has safely re 
turned to his friends ; but should have been much 
more pleased had he accepted the Professorship in 

1819] THOMA S JEFFERSON. \ 39 

our University, which we should have offered him in 
form. Mr. Bowditch, too, refuses us ; so fascinating 
is the vinculum of the dulce natale solum. Our wish 
is to procure natives, where they can be found, like 
these gentlemen, of the first order of requirement in 
their respective lines ; but preferring foreigners of 
the first order to natives of the second, we shall cer 
tainly have to go for several of our Professors, to 
countries more advanced in science than we are. 

I set out within three or four days for my other 
home, the distance of which, and its cross mails, are 
great impediments to epistolary communications. I 
shall remain there about two months ; and there, 
here, and everywhere, I am and shall always be, 
affectionately and respectfully yours. 


Aug. 24, 19. 

SIR, I inclose you a renewal of the two notes of 10,000 D. each 
for which I am by endorsement responsible to the US. bank, for 
Colo. W. C. Nicholas. I do this on his information that it will 
be received as sufficient for 60 days within which term I will exe 
cute a bond jointly with him for the amount of these notes, with 
a third person made acceptable to the bank. In seeking for 
a 3d name my reluctance at placing any friend in the state of 
uneasiness in which this responsibility would place him, is in 
superable. I greatly prefer therefore what I am told will be 
acceptable to the bank, to make a 3d name competent by a con 
veyance of real property abundantly sufficient to cover the debt. 
My grandson Thos J. Randolph is the person whom I should 
chuse with the least scruple in this business and I will accord 
ingly convey lands amply sufficient for this debt, to him in trust 

140 THE WRITINGS OF [1819 

for it's payment, & as a special security to the bank, applicable to 
no other purpose ; while this makes him sufficient as a security, all 
the rest of my property is responsible for the same debt, on the 
ground of my being separately bound. That it is sufficient for 
many times this amount is probably known, and I assure you on 
my honor that not a dollar's worth of it is under incumbrance to 
any mortal or for any purpose. You shall receive the bond and 
a copy of the deed immediately after my return to Monticello, 
which will be within 3. or 4. weeks. Accept the assurance of my 
great respect and esteem. 


POPLAR FOREST, September 6, 1819. 

DEAR SIR, I had read in the Enquirer, and with great appro 
bation, the pieces signed Hampden, and have read them again 
with redoubled approbation, in the copies you have been so kind 
as to send me. I subscribe to every tittle of them. They con 
tain the true principles of the revolution of 1800, for that was as 
real a revolution in the principles of our government as that of 
1776 was in its form ; not effected indeed by the sword, as that, 
but by the rational and peaceable instrument of reform, the suf 
frage of the people. The nation declared its will by dismissing 
functionaries of one principle, and electing those of another, in 
the two branches, executive and legislative, submitted to their 
election. Over the judiciary department, the constitution had 
deprived them of their control. That, therefore, has continued 
the reprobated system, and although new matter has been occa 
sionally incorporated into the old, yet the leaven of the old mass 
seems to assimilate to itself the new, and after twenty years' con 
firmation of the federal system by the voice of the nation, declared 
through the medium of elections, we find the judiciary on every 
occasion, still driving us into consolidation. 

In denying the right they usurp of exclusively explaining the 
constitution, I go further than you do, if I understand rightly 
your quotation from the Federalist, of an opinion that " the 
judiciary is the last resort in relation to the other departments of 
the government, but not in relation to the rights of the parties to 


the compact under which the judiciary is derived." If this 
opinion be sound, then indeed is our constitution a complete /<?/0 
de se. For intending to establish three departments, co-ordinate 
and independent, that they might check and balance one another, 
it has given, according to this opinion, to one of them alone, the 
right to prescribe rules for the government of the others, and to 
that one too, which is unelected by, and independent of the 
nation. For experience has already shown that the impeachment 
it has provided is not even a scare-crow ; that such opinions as 
the one you combat, sent cautiously out, as you observe also, by 
detachment, not belonging to the case often, but sought for out 
of it, as if to rally the public opinion beforehand to their views, 
and to indicate the line they are to walk in, have been so quietly 
passed over as never to have excited animadversion, even in a 
speech of any one of the body entrusted with impeachment. 
The constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in 
the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into 
any form they please. It should be remembered, as an axiom of 
eternal truth in politics, that whatever power in any government 
is independent, is absolute also ; in theory only, at first, while the 
spirit of the people is up, but in practice, as fast as that relaxes. 
Independence can be trusted nowhere but with the people in 
mass. They are inherently independent of all but moral law. 
My construction of the constitution is very different from that 
you quote. It is that each department is truly independent of 
the others, and has an equal right to decide for itself what is the 
meaning of the constitution in the cases submitted to its action ; 
and especially, where it is to act ultimately and without appeal. 
I will explain myself by examples, which, having occurred while 
I was in office, are better known to me, and the principles which 
governed them. 

A legislature had passed the sedition law. The federal courts 
had subjected certain individuals to its penalties of fine and im 
prisonment. On coming into office, I released these individuals 
by the power of pardon committed to executive discretion, which 
could never be more properly exercised than where citizens were 
suffering without the authority of law, or, which was equivalent, 
under a law unauthorized by the constitution, and therefore null. 

i 4 2 THE WRITINGS OF [1819 

In the case of Marbury and Madison, the federal judges declared 
that commissions, signed and sealed by the President, were valid, 
although not delivered. I deemed delivery essential to complete 
a deed, which, as long as it remains in the hands of the party, is 
as yet no deed, it is in posse only, but not in csse, and I with 
held delivery of the commissions. They cannot issue a man 
damus to the President or legislature, or to any of their officers. 1 

When the British treaty of arrived, without any provision 

against the impressment of our seamen, I determined not to ratify 
it. The Senate thought I should ask their advice. I thought 
that would be a mockery of them, when I was predetermined 
against following it, should they advise its ratification. The con 
stitution had made their advice necessary to confirm a treaty, but 
not to reject it. This has been blamed by some ; but I have never 
doubted its soundness. In the cases of two persons, antcnati, under 
exactly similar circumstances, the federal court had determined 
that one of them (Duane) was not a citizen ; the House of Repre 
sentatives nevertheless determined that the other (Smith, of South 
Carolina) was a citizen, and admitted him to his seat in their 
body. Duane was a republican, and Smith a federalist, and these 
decisions were made during the federal ascendancy. 

These are examples of my position, that each of the three de 
partments has equally the right to decide for itself what is its duty 
under the constitution, without any regard to what the others may 
have decided for themselves under a similar question. But you 
intimate a wish that my opinion should be known on this subject. 
No, dear Sir, I withdraw from all contests of opinion, and resign 
everything cheerfully to the generation now in place. They are 
wiser than we were, and their successors will be wiser than they, 
from the progressive advance of science. Tranquillity is the 
summum bonum of age. I wish, therefore, to offend no man's 
opinion, nor to draw disquieting animadversions on my own. 
While duty required it, I met opposition with a firm and fearless 
step. But loving mankind in my individual relations with them, 
I pray to be permitted to depart in their peace ; and like the 
superannuated soldier, " quadragenis stipendiis enteritis" to hang 

1 The constitution controlling the common law in this particular, T. J. 


my arms on the post. I have unwisely, I fear, embarked in an 
enterprise of great public concern, but not to be accomplished 
within my term, without their liberal and prompt support. A 
severe illness the last year, and another from which I am just 
emerged, admonish me that repetitions may be expected, against 
which a declining frame cannot long bear up. I am anxious, 
therefore, to get our University so far advanced as may encourage 
the public to persevere to its final accomplishment. That secured, 
I shall sing my nunc demittas. I hope your labors will be long 
continued in the spirit in which they have always been exercised, 
in maintenance of those principles on which I verily believe the 
future happiness of our country essentially depends. I salute you 
with affectionate and great respect. 


MONTICELLO, October 31, 1819. 

DEAR SIR, Your favor of the 2ist is received. My late illness, 
in which you are so kind as to feel an interest, was produced by a 
spasmodic stricture of the ilium, which came upon me on the 7th 
inst. The crisis was short, passed over favorably on the fourth 
day, and I should soon have been well but that a dose of calomel 
and jalap, in which were only eight or nine grains of the former, 
brought on a salivation. Of this, however, nothing now remains 
but a little soreness of the mouth. I have been able to get on 
horseback for three or four days past. 

As you say of yourself, I too am an Epicurian. I consider the 
genuine (not the imputed) doctrines of Epicurus as containing 
everything rational in moral philosophy which Greece and Rome 
have left us. Epictetus indeed, has given us what was good of the 
stoics ; all beyond, of their dogmas, being hypocrisy and grimace. 
Their great crime was in their calumnies of Epicurus and mis 
representations of his doctrines ; in which we lament to see the 
candid character of Cicero engaging as an accomplice. Diffuse, 
vapid, rhetorical, but enchanting. His prototype Plato, eloquent 
as himself, dealing out mysticisms incomprehensible to the human 
mind, has been deified by certain sects usurping the name of 

144 THE WRITINGS OF [1819 

Christians ; because, in his foggy conceptions, they found a basis 
of impenetrable darkness whereon to rear fabrications as delirious, 
of their own invention. These they fathered blasphemously on 
him whom they claimed as their founder, but who would disclaim 
them with the indignation which their caricatures of his religion 
so justly excite. Of Socrates we have nothing genuine but in the 
Memorabilia of Xenophon ; for Plato makes him one of his Col 
locutors merely to cover his own whimsies under the mantle of his 
name ; a liberty of which we are told Socrates himself complained. 
Seneca is indeed a fine moralist, disfiguring his work at times with 
some Stoicisms, and affecting too much of antithesis and point, 
yet giving us on the whole a great deal of sound and practical 
morality. But the greatest of all the reformers of the depraved 
religion of his own country, was Jesus of Nazareth. Abstracting 
what is really his from the rubbish in which it is buried, easily 
distinguished by its lustre from the dross of his biographers, and 
as separable from that as the diamond from the dunghill, we have 
the outlines of a system of the most sublime morality which has 
ever fallen from the lips of man ; outlines which it is lamentable 
he did not live to fill up. Epictetus and Epicurus give laws for 
governing ourselves, Jesus a supplement of the duties and charities 
we owe to others. The establishment of the innocent and genuine 
character of this benevolent moralist, and the rescuing it from the 
imputation of imposture, which has resulted from artificial systems, 1 
invented by ultra- Christian sects, unauthorized by a single word 
ever uttered by him, is a most desirable object, and one to which 
Priestley has successfully devoted his labors and learning. It 
would in time, it is to be hoped, effect a quiet euthanasia of the 
heresies of bigotry and fanaticism which have so long triumphed 
over human reason, and so generally and deeply afflicted man 
kind ; but this work is to be begun by winnowing the grain from 
the chaff of the historians of his life. I have sometimes thought 
of translating Epictetus (for he has never been tolerable translated 
into English) by adding the genuine doctrines of Epicurus from 

1 e. g. The immaculate conception of Jesus, his deification, the creation of the 
world by him, his miraculous powers, his resurrection and visible ascension, his 
corporeal presence in the Eucharist, the Trinity ; original sin, atonement, re 
generation, election, orders of Hierarchy, &c. T. J. 


the Syntagma of Gassendi, and an abstract from the Evangelists 
of whatever has the stamp of the eloquence and fine imagination 
of Jesus. The last I attempted too hastily some twelve or fifteen 
years ago. It was the work of two or three nights only, at Wash 
ington, after getting through the evening task of reading the letters 
and papers of the day. But with one foot in the grave, these are 
now idle projects for me. My business is to beguile the weari- 
someness of declining life, as I endeavor to do, by the delights of 
classical reading and of mathematical truths, and by the consola 
tions of a sound philosophy, equally indifferent to hope and fear. 

I take the liberty of observing that you are not a true disciple 
of our master Epicurus, in indulging the indolence to which you 
say you are yielding. One of his canons, you know, was that 
" the indulgence which prevents a greater pleasure, or produces a 
greater pain, is to be avoided." Your love of repose will lead, in 
its progress, to a suspension of healthy exercise, a relaxation of 
mind, an indifference to everything around you, and finally to a 
debility of body, and hebetude of mind, the farthest of all things 
from the happiness which the well-regulated indulgences of Epi 
curus ensure ; fortitude, you know, is one of his four cardinal 
virtues. That teaches us to meet and surmount difficulties ; not 
to fly from them, like cowards ; and to fly, too, in vain, for they 
will meet and arrest us at every turn of our road. Weigh this 
matter well ; brace yourself up ; take a seat with Correa, and 
come and see the finest portion of your country, which, if you 
have not forgotten, you still do not know, because it is no longer 
the same as when you knew it. It will add much to the happi 
ness of my recovery to be able to receive Correa and yourself, 
and prove the estimation in which I hold you both. Come, too, 
and see our incipient University, which has advanced with great 
activity this year. By the end of the next, we shall have elegant 
accommodations for seven professors, and the year following the 
professors themselves. No secondary character will be received 
among them. Either the ablest which America or Europe can 
furnish, or none at all. They will give us the selected society 
of a great city separated from the dissipations and levities of its 
ephemeral insects. 

I am glad the bust of Condorcet has been saved and so well 

VOL. X. 10 

i 4 6 THE WRITINGS OF [1819 

placed. His genius should be before us ; while the lamentable, 
but singular act of ingratitude which tarnished his latter days, 
may be thrown behind us. 

I will place under this a syllabus of the doctrines of Epicurus, 1 
somewhat in the lapidary style, which I wrote some twenty years 
ago, a like one of the philosophy of Jesus, of nearly the same age ? 
is too long to be copied. Vale, et tibi persuade carissimum te essc 


MONTICELLO, November 7, 1819. 

DEAR SIR, Three long and dangerous illnesses 
within the last twelve months, must apologize for my 
long silence towards you. 

1 Syllabus of the doctrines of Epicurus. 

Physical. The Universe eternal. 

Its parts, great and small, interchangeable. 

Matter and Void alone. 

Motion inherent in matter which is weighty and declining. 

Eternal circulation of the elements of bodies. 

Gods, an order of beings next superior to man, enjoying in their sphere, their 
own felicities ; but not meddling with the concerns of the scale of beings below 

Moral. Happiness the aim of life. 

Virtue the foundation of happiness. 

Utility the test of virtue. 

Pleasure active and In-do-lent. 

In-do-lence is the absence of pain, the true felicity. 

Active, consists in agreeable motion ; it is not happiness, but the means to 
produce it. 

Thus the absence of hunger is an article of felicity ; eating the means to ob 
tain it. 

The summum bonum is to be not pained In body, nor troubled in mind. 

'. e. In-do-lence of body, tranquillity of mind. 

To procure tranquillity of mind we must avoid desire and fear, the two 
principal diseases of the mind. 

Man is a free agent. 

Virtue consists in i . Prudence. 2. Temperance. 3. Fortitude. 4. Justice. 

To which are opposed, I. Folly. 2. Desire. 3. Fear. 4. Deceit. 


The paper bubble is then burst. This is what you 
and I, and every reasoning man, seduced by no ob 
liquity of mind or interest, have long foreseen ; yet 
its disastrous effects are not the less for having been 
foreseen. We were laboring under a dropsical fulness 
of circulating medium. Nearly all of it is now called 
in by the banks, who have the regulation of the safety- 
valves of our fortunes, and who condense and explode 
them at their will. Lands in this State cannot now 
be sold for a year's rent ; and unless our Legislature 
have wisdom enough to effect a remedy by a gradual 
diminution only of the medium, there will be a general 
revolution of property in this State. Over our own 
paper and that of other States coming among us, they 
have competent powers ; over that of the bank of the 
United States there is doubt, not here, but elsewhere. 
That bank will probably conform voluntarily to such 
regulations as the Legislature may prescribe for the 
others. If they do not, we must shut their doors, and 
join the other States which deny the right of Congress 
to establish banks, and solicit them to agree to some 
mode of settling this constitutional question. They 
have themselves twice decided against their right, 
and twice for it. Many of the States have been uni 
form in denying it, and between such parties the Con 
stitution has provided no umpire. I do not know 
particularly the extent of this distress in the other 
States ; but southwardly and westwardly I believe all 
are involved in it. God bless you, and preserve you 
many years. 

148 THE WRITINGS OF [1819 


MONTICELLO, November 10, 1819. 

SIR, Your letter, and the draught of a memorial proposed to 
be presented to the Legislature, are duly received. With respect 
to impressions from any differences of political opinion, whether 
major or minor, alluded to in your letter, I have none. I left 
them all behind me on quitting Washington, where alone the 
state of things had, till then, required some attention to them. 
Nor was that the lightest part of the load I was there disbur- 
thened of; and could I permit myself to believe that with the 
change of circumstances a corresponding change had taken place 
in the minds of those who differed from me, and that I now stand 
in the peace and good will of my fellow-citizens generally, it 
would indeed be a sweetening ingredient in the last dregs of my 
life. It is not then from that source that my testimony may be 
scanty, but from a decaying memory, illy retaining things of re 
cent transaction, and scarcely with any distinctness those of forty 
years back, the period to which your memorial refers : general 
impressions of them remain, but details are mostly obliterated. 

Of the transfer of your corps from the general to the State 
line, and the other facts in the memorial preceding my entrance 
on the administration of the State government, June 2, 1779, I 
of course, have no knowledge ; but public documents, as well as 
living witnesses, will probably supply this. In 1780, I remember 
your appointment to a command in the militia sent under General 
Stevens to the aid of the Carolinas, of which fact the commission 
signed by myself is sufficient proof. But I have no particular 
recollections which respect yourself personally in that service. 
Of what took place during Arnold's invasion in the subsequent 
winter I have more knowledge, because so much passed under my 
own eye, and I have the benefit of some notes to aid my memory. 
In the short interval of fifty-seven hours between our knowing 
they had entered James river and their actual debarkation at 
Westover, we could get together but a small body of militia, (my 
notes say of three hundred men only,) chiefly from the city and 
its immediate vicinities. You were placed in the command of 
these, and ordered to proceed to the neighborhood of the enemy, 
not with any view to face them directly with so small a force, but 


to hang on their skirts, and to check their march as much as 
could be done, to give time for the more distant militia to assem 
ble. The enemy were not to be delayed, however, and were in 
Richmond in twenty-four hours from their being formed on shore 
at Westover. The day before their arrival at Richmond, I had 
sent my family to Tuckahoe, as the memorial states, at which 
place I joined them about i o'clock of that night, having attended 
late at Westham, to have the public stores and papers thrown 
across the river. You came up to us at Tuckahoe the next morn 
ing, and accompanied me, 1 think, to Britton's opposite Westham, 
to see about the further safety of the arms and other property. 
Whether you stayed there to look after them, or went with me to 
the heights of Manchester, and returned thence to Britton's, I do 
not recollect. The enemy evacuated Richmond at noon on the 5th 
of January, having remained there but twenty-three hours. I re 
turned to it in the morning of the 8th, they being still encamped 
at Westover and Berkley, and yourself and corps at the Forest. 
They re-embarked at i o'clock of the loth. The particulars of 
your movements down the river, to oppose their re-landing at dif 
ferent points, I do not specifically recollect, but, as stated in the 
memorial, they are so much in agreement with my general impres 
sions, that I have no doubt of their correctness, and I know that 
your conduct from the first advance of the enemy to his depart 
ure, was approved by myself and by others generally. The 
rendezvous of the militia at the Tuckahoe bridge, and your hav 
ing the command of them, I think I also remember, but nothing 
of their subsequent movements. The legislature had adjourned 
to meet at Charlottesville, where, at the expiration of my second 
year, I declined a re-election in the belief that a military man 
would be more likely to render services adequate to the exigencies 
of the times. Of the subsequent facts, therefore, stated in the 
memorial, I have no knowledge. 

This, Sir, is the sum of the information I am able to give on 
the subjects of your memorial, and if it may contribute to the 
purposes of justice in your case, I shall be happy that in bearing 
testimony to the truth, I shall have rendered you a just service 
I return the memorial and commission, as requested, and pray you 
to accept my respectful salutations. 

150 THE WRITINGS OF [1819 


MONTICELLO, November 28, 1819. 

DEAR SIR, The distresses of our country, produced first by the 
flood, then by the ebb of bank paper, are such as cannot fail to 
engage the interposition of the legislature. Many propositions 
will, of course, be offered, from all of which something may prob 
ably be culled to make a good whole. I explained to you my 
project, when I had the pleasure of possessing you here ; and I 
now send its outline in writing, as I believe I promised you. 
Although preferable things will I hope be offered, yet some twig 
of this may perhaps be thought worthy of being engrafted on a 
better stock. But I send it with no particular object or request, 
but to use it as you please. Suppress it, suggest it, sound opin 
ions, or anything else, at will, only keeping my name unmentioned, 
for which purpose it is copied in another hand, being ever solicit 
ous to avoid all offence which is heavily felt, when retired from 
the bustle and contentions of the world. If we suffer the moral 
of the present lesson to pass away without improvement by the 
eternal suppression of bank/0/ter, then indeed is the condition of 
our country desperate, until the slow advance of public instruc 
tion shall give to our functionaries the wisdom of their station. 
Vale, et tibi persuade carissimum te mihi esse. 1 

1 Plan for reducing the circulating medium . 

The plethory of circulating medium which raised the prices of everything to 
several times their ordinary and standard value, in which state of things many 
and heavy debts were contracted ; and the sudden withdrawing too great a pro 
portion of that medium, and reduction of prices far below that standard, con 
stitutes the disease under which we are now laboring, and which must end in a 
general revolution of property, if some remedy is not applied. That remedy is 
clearly a gradual reduction of the medium to its standard level, that is to say, 
to the level which a metallic medium will always find for itself, so as to be in 
equilibro with that of the nations with which we have commerce. 

To effect this, 

Let the whole of the present paper medium be suspended in its circulation 
after a certain and not distant day. 

Ascertain by proper inquiry the greatest sum of it which has at any one time 
been in actual circulation. 

Take a certain term of years for its gradual reduction, suppose it to be five 
years ; then let the solvent banks issue \ of that amount in new notes, to be at- 



MONTICELLO, December 10, 1819. 

DEAR SIR, I have to acknowledge the receipt of 
your favor of November the 23d. The banks, bank- 
tested by a public officer, as a security that neither more or less is issued, and 
to be given out in exchange for the suspended notes, and the surplus in discount. 

Let th of these notes bear on their face that the bank will discharge them 
with specie at the end of one year ; another 5th at the end of two years ; a third 
5th at the end of three years ; and so of the 4th and 5th. They will be sure to 
be brought in at their respective periods of redemption. 

Make it a high offence to receive or pass within this State a note of any 

There is little doubt that our banks will agree readily to this operation ; if 
they refuse, declare their charters forfeited by their former irregularities, and 
give summary process against them for the suspended notes. 

The Bank of the United States will probably concur also ; if not, shut their 
doors and join the other States in respectful, but firm applications to Congress, 
to concur in constituting a tribunal (a special convention, e. g.) for settling 
amicably the question of their right to institute a bank, and that also of the 
States to do the same. 

A stay-law for the suspension of executions, and their discharge at five annual 
instalments, should be accommodated to these measures. 

Interdict forever, to both the State and national governments, the power of 
establishing any paper bank ; for without this interdiction, we shall have the 
same ebbs and flows of medium, and the same revolutions of property to go 
through every twenty or thirty years. 

In this way the value of property, keeping pace nearly with the sum of cir 
culating medium, will descend gradually to its proper level, at the rate of about 
every year, the sacrifices of what shall be sold for payment of the first instal 
ments of debts will be moderate, and time will be given for economy and indus 
try to come in aid of those subsequent. Certainly no nation ever before 
abandoned to the avarice and jugglings of private individuals to regulate, ac 
cording to their own interests, the quantum of circulating medium for the nation, 
to inflate, by deluges of paper, the nominal prices of property, and then to buy 
up that property at is. in the pound, having first withdrawn the floating medium 
which might endanger a competition in purchase. Yet this is what has been 
done, and will be done, unless stayed by the protecting hand of the legislature. 
The evil has been produced by the error of their sanction of this ruinous ma 
chinery of banks ; and justice, wisdom, duty, all require that they should inter 
pose and arrest it before the schemes of plunder and spoliation desolate the 
country. It is believed that Harpies are already hoarding their money to com 
mence these scenes on the separation of the legislature ; and we know that lands 
have been already sold under the hammer for less than a year's rent. 

152 THE WRITINGS OF [1819 

rupt law, manufactures, Spanish treaty, are nothing. 
These are occurrences which, like waves in a storm, 
will pass under the ship. But the Missouri question 
is a breaker on which we lose the Missouri country by 
revolt, and what more, God only knows. From the 
battle of Bunker's Hill to the treaty of Paris, we never 
had so ominous a question. It even damps the joy 
with which I hear of your high health, and welcomes 
to me the consequences of my want of it. I thank 
God that I shall not live to witness its issue. Sed 
hcec hactenus. 

I have been amusing myself latterly with reading 
the voluminous letters of Cicero. They certainly 
breathe the purest effusions of an exalted patriot, while 
the parricide Caesar is lost in odious contrast. When 
the enthusiasm, however, kindled by Cicero's pen 
and principles, subsides into cool reflection, I ask my 
self, what was that government which the virtues of 
Cicero were so zealous to restore, and the ambition 
of Caesar to subvert ? And if Caesar had been as vir 
tuous as he was daring and sagacious, what could he, 
even in the plenitude of his usurped power, have 
done to lead his fellow citizens into good government ? 
I do not say to restore it, because they never had it, 
from the rape of the Sabines to the ravages of the 
Caesars. If their people indeed had been, like our 
selves, enlightened, peaceable, and really free, the 
answer would be obvious. " Restore independence 
to all your foreign conquests, relieve Italy from the 
government of the rabble of Rome, consult it as a 
nation entitled to self-government, and do its will." 


But steeped in corruption, vice and venality, as the 
whole nation was, (and nobody had done more than 
Csesar to corrupt it,) what could even Cicero, Cato, 
Brutus have done, had it been referred to them to 
establish a good government for their country ? They 
had no ideas of government themselves, but of their 
degenerate Senate, nor the people of liberty, but of 
the factious opposition of their Tribunes. They had 
afterwards their Tituses, their Trajans and Antoni- 
nuses, who had the will to make them happy, and the 
power to mould their government into a good and 
permanent form. But it would seem as if they could 
not see their way clearly to do it. No government 
can continue good, but under the control of the peo 
ple ; and their people were so demoralized and de 
praved, as to be incapable of exercising a wholesome 
control. Their reformation then was to be taken up 
ab incunabulis. Their minds were to be informed by 
education what is right and what wrong ; to be en 
couraged in habits of virtue, and deterred from those 
of vice by the dread of punishments, proportioned 
indeed, but irremissible ; in all cases, to follow truth 
as the only safe guide, and to eschew error, which be 
wilders us in one false consequence after another, in 
endless succession. These are the inculcations neces 
sary to render the people a sure basis for the struct 
ure of order and good government. But this would 
have been an operation of a generation or two, at 
least, within which period would have succeeded many 
Neros and Commoduses, who would have quashed 
the whole process. I confess then, I can neither see 

154 THE WRITINGS OF [1820 

what Cicero, Cato, and Brutus, united and uncontrolled, 
could have devised to lead their people into good 
government, nor how this enigma can be solved, nor 
how further shown why it has been the fate of that de 
lightful country never to have known, to this day, and 
through a course of five and twenty hundred years, 
the history of which we possess, one single day of free 
and rational government. Your intimacy with their 
history, ancient, middle and modern, your familiarity 
with the improvements in the science of government 
at this time, will enable you, if any body, to go back 
with our principles and opinions to the times of Cicero, 
Cato, and Brutus, and tell us by what process these 
great and virtuous men could have led so unenlight 
ened and vitiated a people into freedom and good 
government, et eris mihi magnus Apollo. Cura ut 
valeas, et tibi persuadeas carissimum te mihi esse. 


MONTICELLO, Jan. 22. 20. 

DEAR SIR, I send you the inclosed as an exhibit to our ene 
mies as well as friends. Kentucky, our daughter, planted since 
Virginia was a distinguished state, has an University, with 14. 
professors & upwards of 200 students. While we, with a fund of 
a million & a half of Dollars ready raised and appropriated, are 
higgling without the heart to let it go to it's use. If our legisla 
ture does not heartily push our University, we must send our 
children for education to Kentucky or Cambridge. The latter 
will return them to us fanatics & tories, the former will keep them 
to add to their population. If however we are to go a begging any 
where for our education, I would rather it should be to Ken 
tucky than any other state, because she has more of the flavor of 


the old cask than any other. All the states but our own are sen 
sible that knolege is power. The Missouri question is for power. 
The efforts now generally making all the states to advance their 
science is for power, while we are sinking into the barbarism of 
our Indian aborigines, and expect like them to oppose by ignor 
ance the overwhelming mass of light & science by which we shall 
be surrounded. It is a comfort that I am not to live to see this. 
Our exertions in building this last year have amounted to the 
whole of the public annuity of this year, for which therefore we 
have been obliged to draw to relieve the actual distresses of our 
workmen ; the subscriptions come in slow & grudgingly. You 
know that we are to pay Dr. Cooper 1500 D. in May, and his 
family will depend on it for subsistence in his absence. We have 
been obliged therefore to set apart, as our only sure dependence, 
6. subscriptions on the punctuality of which we can depend, to 
wit, yours, Mr. Madison's, Genl Cocke's, Mr. Diges's and John 
Harrison's, & mine, which exactly make up the money. Affectly 


MONTICELLO Feb. 6. 20. 

DEAR SIR, Continual ill health for 18. months past had nearly 
ended the business of letter-writing with me. I cannot however 
but make an effort to thank you for your vindicia Americana 
against Gr. Britain. The malevolence and impertinence of her 
critics & writers really called for the rod, and I rejoiced when I 
heard it was in hands so able to wield it with strength and cor 
rectness. Your work will furnish the ist volume of every future 
American history ; the Ante-revolutionary part especially. The 
latter part will silence the libellists of the day, who finding refuta 
tion impossible, and that men in glass houses should not provoke 
a war of stones, will be glad of a truce, to hush and be done with 
it. I wish that, being placed on the vantage ground by these 
researches and expositions of facts, our own citizens and our 
antagonists would now bury the hatchet and join in a mutual 
amnesty. No two nations on earth can be so helpful to each 
other as friends, nor so hurtful as enemies. And, in spite of 

156 THE WRITINGS OF [1820 

their insolence I have ever wished for an honorable and cordial 
amity with them as a nation. I think the looking glass you have 
held up to them will now so compleatly humble their pride as to 
dispose them also to wish and court it. 

Here I must lay down my pen with affectionate salutations to 
you, and on whichever side of the Styx I may be, with cordial 
wishes for your health, prosperity and happiness. 


MONTICELLO Feb. 7. 20. 

DEAR SIR, * * * 1 thank you for your information on the 
progress & prospects of the Missouri question. It is the most 
portentous one which ever yet threatened our Union. In the 
gloomiest moment of the revolutionary war I never had any 
apprehensions equal to what I feel from this source. 

I observe you are loaded with petitions from the Manufactur 
ing commercial & agricultural interests, each praying you to sac 
rifice the others to them. This proves the egotism of the whole 
and happily balances their cannibal appetites to eat one another. 
The most perfect confidence in the wisdom of Congress leaves me 
without a fear of the result. I do not know whether it is any 
part of the petitions of the farmers that our citizens shall be re 
strained to eat nothing but bread, because that can be made here. 
But this is the common spirit of all their petitions. My ill-health 
has obliged me to retire from all public concerns. I scarcely read 
a newspaper. I cannot therefore tell you what is a doing in the 
state, but this you will get fully from others. I will therefore add 
only the assurances of my great & friendly esteem and respect. ' 

1 Jefferson further wrote to Nelson : 

MONTICELLO, March 12, 1820 

I thank you, dear Sir, for the information in your favor of the 4th instant, 
of the settlement, for the present, of the Missouri question. I am so com 
pletely withdrawn from all attention to public matters, that nothing less could 
arouse me than the definition of a geographical line, which on an abstract prin 
ciple is to become the line of separation of these States, and to render desperate 
the hope that man can ever enjoy the two blessings of peace and self-govern 
ment. The question sleeps for the present, but is not dead. This State is in 



MONTICELLO, April 22, l82O. 

I thank you, dear Sir, for the copy you have been so kind as 
to send me of the letter to your constituents on the Missouri 
question. It is a perfect justification to them. I had for a long 
time ceased to read newspapers, or pay any attention to public 
affairs, confident they were in good hands, and content to be a 
passenger in our bark to the shore from which I am not distant. 
But this momentous question, like a fire bell in the night, 
awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as 
the knell of the Union. It is hushed, indeed, for the moment. 
But this is a reprieve only, not a final sentence. A geographical 
line, coinciding with a marked principle, moral and political, 
once conceived and held up to the angry passions of men, will 
never be obliterated ; and every new irritation will mark it deeper 
and deeper. I can say, with conscious truth, that there is not a 
man on earth who would sacrifice more than I would to relieve 
us from this heavy reproach, in any practicable way. The cession 
of that kind of property, for so it is misnamed, is a bagatelle 
which would not cost me a second thought, if, in that way, a gen 
eral emancipation and expatriation could be effected ; and gradu 
ally, and with due sacrifices, I think it might be. But as it is, we 
have the wolf by the ears, and we can neither hold him, nor 
safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation 

a condition of unparalleled distress. The sudden reduction of the circulating 
medium from a plethory to all but annihilation is producing an entire revolution 
of fortune. In other places I have known lands sold by the sheriff for one 
year's rent ; beyond the mountain we hear of good slaves selling for one hun 
dred dollars, good horses for five dollars, and the sheriffs generally the pur 
chasers. Our produce is now selling at market for one-third of its price, before 
this commercial catastrophe, say flour at three and a quarter and three and a 
half dollars the barrel. We should have less right to expect relief from our 
legislators if they had been the establishers of the unwise system of banks. A 
remedy to a certain degree was practicable, that of reducing the quantum of 
circulation gradually to a level with that of the countries with which we have 
commerce, and an eternal abjuration of paper. But they have adjourned with 
out doing anything. I fear local insurrections against these horrible sacrifices 
of property. In every condition of trouble or tranquillity be assured of my con 
stant esteem and respect. 

158 THE WRITINGS OF [1820 

in the other. Of one thing I am certain, that as the passage of 
slaves from one State to another, would not make a slave of a 
single human being who would not be so without it, so their dif 
fusion over a greater surface would make them individually hap 
pier, and proportionally facilitate the accomplishment of their 
emancipation, by dividing the burthen on a greater number of 
coadjutors. An abstinence too, from this act of power, would 
remove the jealousy excited by the undertaking of Congress to 
regulate the condition of the different descriptions of men com 
posing a State. This certainly is the exclusive right of every 
State, which nothing in the constitution has taken from them and 
given to the General Government. Could Congress, for example, 
say, that the non-freemen of Connecticut shall be freemen, or 
that they shall not emigrate into any other State ? 

I regret that I am now to die in the belief, that the useless 
sacrifice of themselves by the generation of 1776, to acquire self- 
government and happiness to their country, is to be thrown away 
by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and that my 
only consolation is to be, that I live not to weep over it. If they 
would but dispassionately weigh the blessings they will throw 
away, against an abstract principle more likely to be effected by 
union than by scission, they would pause before they would per 
petrate this act of suicide on themselves, and of treason against 
the hopes of the world. To yourself, as the faithful advocate of 
the Union, I tender the offering of my high esteem and respect. 


MONTICELLO, May 14, 1820. 

DEAR SIR, Your favor of the 3d is received, and 
always with welcome. These texts of truth relieve 
me from the floating falsehoods of the public papers. 
I confess to you I am not sorry for the non-ratifica 
tion of the Spanish treaty. Our assent to it has 
proved our desire to be on friendly terms with Spain ; 
their dissent, the imbecility and malignity of their 


government towards us, have placed them in the 
wrong in the eyes of the world, and that is well ; but 
to us the province of Techas will be the richest State 
of our Union, without any exception. Its southern 
part will make more sugar than we can consume, and 
the Red river, on its north, is the most luxuriant 
country on earth. Florida, moreover, is ours. Every 
nation in Europe considers it such a right. We need 
not care for its occupation in time of peace, and, in 
war, the first cannon makes it ours without offence to 
anybody. The friendly advisements, too, of Russia 
and France, as well as the change of government in 
Spain, now ensured, require a further and respectful 
forbearance. While their request will rebut the plea 
of prescriptive possession, it will give us a right to 
their approbation when taken in the maturity of cir 
cumstances. I really think, too, that neither the state 
of our finances, the condition of our country, nor the 
public opinion, urges us to precipitation into war. 
The treaty has had the valuable effect of strengthen 
ing our title to the Techas, because the cession of the 
Floridas in exchange for Techas imports an acknow 
ledgement of our right to it. This province more 
over, the Floridas and possibly Cuba, will join us on 
the acknowledgment of their independence, a meas 
ure to which their new government will probably ac 
cede voluntarily. But why should I be saying all 
this to you, whose mind all the circumstances of this 
affair have had possession for years ? I shall rejoice 
to see you here ; and were I to live to see you here 
finally, it would be a day of jubilee. But our days 

160 THE WRITINGS OF [1820 

are all numbered, and mine are not many. God bless 
you and preserve you muchos anos. 


MONTICELLO, September 28, 1820. 

I thank you, Sir, for the copy of your Republican which you 
have been so kind as to send me, and I should have acknow 
ledged it sooner but that I am just returned home after a long 
absence. I have not yet had time to read it seriously, but in 
looking over it cursorily I see much in it to approve, and shall be 
glad if it shall lead our youth to the practice of thinking on such 
subjects and for themselves. That it will have this tendency 
may be expected, and for that reason I feel an urgency to note 
what I deem an error in it, the more requiring notice as your 
opinion is strengthened by that of many others. You seem, in 
pages 84 and 148, to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters 
of all constitutional questions ; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, 
and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligar 
chy. Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so. 
They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, 
and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is " boni judicis 
est ampliare jurisdictionem" and their power the more danger 
ous as they are in office for life, and not responsible, as the other 
functionaries are, to the elective control. The constitution has 
erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands 
confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members 
would become despots. It has more wisely made all the depart 
ments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves. If the leg 
islature fails to pass laws for a census, for paying the judges and 
other officers of government, for establishing a militia, for nat 
uralization as prescribed by the constitution, or if they fail to 
meet in congress, the judges cannot issue their mandamus to 
them ; if the President fails to supply the place of a judge, 
to appoint other civil or military officers, to issue requisite com 
missions, the judges cannot force him. They can issue their 
mandamus or distringas to no executive or legislative officer to 


enforce the fulfilment of their official duties, any more than the 
president or legislature may issue orders to the judges or their 
officers. Betrayed by English example, and unaware, as it should 
seem, of the control of our constitution in this particular, they have 
at times overstepped their limit by undertaking to command 
executive officers in the discharge of their executive duties ; but 
the constitution, in keeping three departments distinct and inde 
pendent, restrains the authority of the judges to judiciary organs, 
as it does the executive and legislative to executive and legisla 
tive organs. The judges certainly have more frequent occasion 
to act on constitutional questions, because the laws of meum and 
tuum and of criminal action, forming the great mass of the sys 
tem of law, constitute their particular department. When the 
legislative or executive functionaries act unconstitutionally, they 
are responsible to the people in their elective capacity. The ex 
emption of the judges from that is quite dangerous enough. I 
know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society 
but the people themselves ; and if we think them not enlightened 
enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, 
the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their dis 
cretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of 
constitutional power. Pardon me, Sir, for this difference of 
opinion. My personal interest in such questions is entirely ex 
tinct, but not my wishes for the longest possible continuance of 
our government on its pure principles ; if the three powers main 
tain their mutual independence on each other it may last long, 
but not so if either can assume the authorities of the other. I ask 
your candid re-consideration of this subject, and am sufficiently 
sure you will form a candid conclusion. Accept the assurance 
of my great respect. 


MONTICELLO, September 30, 1820. 

DEAR SIR, An absence of some time from home has occasioned 
me to be thus late in acknowledging the receipt of your favor 
of the 6th, and I see in it with pleasure evidences of your con 
tinued health and application to business. It is now, I believe, 


162 THE WRITINGS OF [1820 

about twenty years since I had the pleasure of seeing you, and 
we are apt, in such cases, to lose sight of time, and to conceive 
that our friends remain stationary at the same point of health and 
vigor as when we last saw them. So I perceive by your letter 
you think with respect to myself, but twenty years added to 
fifty-seven make quite a different man. To threescore and seven 
teen add two years of prostrate health, and you have the old, 
infirm, and nerveless body I now am, unable to write but with 
pain, and unwilling to think without necessity. In this state I 
leave the world and its affairs to the young and energetic, and 
resign myself to their care, of whom I have endeavored to take 
care when young. I read but one newspaper and that of my 
own State, and more for its advertisements than its news. I 
have not read a speech in Congress for some years. I have 
heard, indeed, of the questions of the tariff and Missouri, and 
formed primd facie opinions on them, but without investigation. 
As to the tariff, I should say put down all banks, admit none but 
a metallic circulation, that will take its proper level with the like 
circulation in other countries, and then our manufacturers may 
work in fair competition with those of other countries, and the 
import duties which the government may lay for the purposes of 
revenue will so far place them above equal competition. The 
Missouri question is a mere party trick. The leaders of federal 
ism, defeated in their schemes of obtaining power by rallying 
partisans to the principle of monarchism, a principle of personal 
not of local division, have changed their tack, and thrown out 
another barrel to the whale. They are taking advantage of the 
virtuous feelings of the people to effect a division of parties by a 
geographical line ; they expect that this will ensure them, on 
local principles, the majority they could never obtain on princi 
ples of federalism ; but they are still putting their shoulder to the 
wrong wheel ; they are wasting Jeremiads on the miseries of 
slavery, as if we were advocates for it. Sincerity in their declama 
tions should direct their efforts to the true point of difficulty, and 
unite their counsels with ours in devising some reasonable and 
practicable plan of getting rid of it. Some of these leaders, if 
they could attain the power, their ambition would rather use it 
to keep the Union together, but others have ever had in view its 


separation. If they push it to that, they will find the line of sepa 
ration very different from their 36 of latitude, and as manufac 
turing and navigating States, they will have quarrelled with 
their bread and butter, and I fear not that after a little trial they 
will think better of it, and return to the embraces of their nat 
ural and best friends. But this scheme of party I leave to those 
who are to live under its consequences. We who have gone be 
fore have performed an honest duty, by putting in the power of 
our successors a state of happiness which no nation ever before 
had within their choice. If that choice is to throw it away, the 
dead will have neither the power nor the right to control them. 
I must hope, nevertheless, that the mass of our honest and well- 
meaning brethren of the other States, will discover the use which 
designing leaders are making of their best feelings, and will see 
the precipice to which they are led, before they take the fatal 
leap. God grant it, and to you health and happiness. 


MONTICELLO, October 24, 1820. 

Your kind letter, dear Sir of October izth, was handed to me 
by Dr. Cooper, and was the first correction of an erroneous belief 
that you had long since left our shores. Such had been Colonel 
Randolph's opinion, and his had governed mine. I received your 
adieu with feelings of sincere regret at the loss we were to sustain, 
and particularly of those friendly visits by which you had made 
me so happy. I shall feel, too, the want of your counsel and ap 
probation in what we are doing and have yet to do in our Univer 
sity, the last of my mortal cares, and the last service I can render 
my country. But turning from myself, throwing egotism behind 
me, and looking to your happiness, it is a duty and consolation of 
friendship to consider that that may be promoted by your return 
to your own country. There I hope you will receive the honors 
and rewards you merit, and which may make the rest of your life 
easy and happy ; there too you will render precious services by 
promoting the science of your country, and blessing its future 
generations with the advantages that bestows. Nor even there 

1 64 THE WRITINGS OF [1820 

shall we lose all the benefits of your friendship ; for this motive, 
as well as the love of your country, will be an incitement to pro 
mote that intimate harmony between our two nations which is so 
much the interest of both. Nothing is so important as that Amer 
ica shall separate herself from the systems of Europe, and estab 
lish one of her own. Our circumstances, our pursuits, our 
interests, are distinct, the principles of our policy should be so 
also. All entanglements with that quarter of the globe should be 
avoided if we mean that peace and justice shall be the polar stars 
of the American societies. I had written a letter to a friend while 
you were here, in a part of which these sentiments were expressed, 
and I had made an extract from it to put into your hands, as con 
taining my creed on that subject. You had left us, however, in 
the morning earlier than I had been aware ; still I enclose it to 
you, because it would be a leading principle with me, had I longer 
to live. During six and thirty years that I have been in situa 
tions to attend to the conduct and characters of foreign nations, I 
have found the government of Portugal the most just, inoffensive 
and unambitious of any one with which we had concern, without 
a single exception. I am sure that this is the character of ours 
also. Two such nations can never wish to quarrel with each 
other. Subordinate officers may be negligent, may have their 
passions and partialities, and be criminally remiss in preventing 
the enterprises of the lawless banditti who are to be found in 
every seaport of every country. The late piratical depredations 
which your commerce has suffered as well as ours, and that of 
other nations, seem to have been committed by renegade rovers 
of several nations, French, English, American, which they as well 
as we have not been careful enough to suppress. I hope our 
Congress now about to meet will strengthen the measures of sup 
pression. Of their disposition to do it there can be no doubt ; for 
all men of moral principle must be shocked at these atrocities. I 
had repeated conversations on this subject with the President 
while at his seat in this neighborhood. No man can abhor these 
enormities more deeply. I trust it will not have been in the 
power of abandoned rovers, nor yet of negligent functionaries, to 
disturb the harmony of two nations so much disposed to mutual 
friendship, and interested in it. To this, my dear friend, you can 


be mainly instrumental, and I know your patriotism and philan 
thropy too well to doubt your best efforts to cement us. In these 
I pray for your success, and that heaven may long preserve you in 
health and prosperity to do all the good to mankind to which 
your enlightened and benevolent mind disposes you. Of the 
continuance of my affectionate friendship, with that of my life, 
and of its fervent wishes for your happiness, accept my sincere 


POPLAR FOREST, November 28, 1820. 

DEAR SIR, I sent in due time the Report of the Visitors to the 
Governor, with a request that he would endeavor to convene the 
Literary Board in time to lay it before the legislature on the sec 
ond day of their session. It was enclosed in a letter which will 
explain itself to you. If delivered before the crowd of other busi 
ness presses on them, they may act on it immediately, and before 
there will have been time for unfriendly combinations and ma- 
neuvres by the enemies of the institution. I enclose you now a 
paper presenting some views which may be useful to you in con 
versations, to rebut exaggerated estimates of what our institution 
is to cost, and reproaches of deceptive estimates. One hundred 
and sixty-two thousand three hundred and sixty- four dollars will 
be about the cost of the whole establishment, when completed. 
Not an office at Washington has cost less. The single building 
of the court house at Henrico has cost nearly that ; and the mas 
sive walls of the millions of bricks of William and Mary could not 
now be built for a less sum. 

Surely Governor Clinton's display of the gigantic efforts of 
New York towards the education of her citizens, will stimulate 
the pride as well as the patriotism of our legislature, to look to the 
reputation and safety of their own country, to rescue it from the 
degradation of becoming the Barbary of the Union, and of fall 
ing into the ranks of our own negroes. To that condition it 
is fast sinking. We shall be in the hands of the other States, 
what our indigenous predecessors were when invaded by the sci 
ence and arts of Europe. The mass of education in Virginia, be- 

1 66 THE WRITINGS OF [1820 

fore the Revolution, placed her with the foremost of her sister 
colonies. What is her education now ? Where is it ? The little 
we have we import, like beggars, from other States ; or import 
their beggars to bestow on us their miserable crumbs. And what 
is wanting to restore us to our station among our confederates ? 
Not more money from the people. Enough has been raised by 
them, and appropriated to this very object. It is that it should 
be employed understandingly, and for their greatest good. That 
good requires, that while they are instructed in general, compe 
tently to the common business of life, others should employ their 
genius with necessary information to the useful arts, to inven 
tions for saving labor and increasing our comforts, to nourishing 
our health, to civil government, military science, &c. 

Would it not have a good effect for the friends of this Uni 
versity to take the lead in proposing and effecting a practical 
scheme of elementary schools ? To assume the character of the 
friends, rather than the opponents of that object. The present 
plan has appropriated to the primary schools forty-five thousand 
dollars for three years, making one hundred and thirty-five thou 
sand dollars. I should be glad to know if this sum has educated 
one hundred and thirty-five poor children ? I doubt it much. 
And if it has, they have cost us one thousand dollars a piece for 
what might have been done with thirty dollars. Supposing the 
literary revenue to be sixty thousand dollars, I think it demon 
strable, that this sum, equally divided between the two objects 
would amply suffice for both. One hundred counties, divided 
into about twelve wards each, on an average, and a school in 
each ward of perhaps ten children, would be one thousand and 
two hundred schools, distributed proportionably over the surface 
of the State. The inhabitants of each ward, meeting together 
(as when they work on the roads), building good log houses for 
their school and teacher, and contributing for his provisions, 
rations of pork, beef, and corn, in the proportion each of his 
other taxes, would thus lodge and feed him without feeling it ; and 
those of them who are able, paying for the tuition of their own 
children, would leave no call on the public fund but for the 
tuition fee of, here and there, an accidental pauper, who would 
still be fed and lodged with his parents. Suppose this fee ten 


dollars, and three hundred dollars apportioned to a county on an 
average, (more or less proportioned,) would there be thirty such 
paupers for every county ? I think not. The truth is, that the 
want of common education with us is not from our poverty, but 
from want of an orderly system. More money is now paid for 
the education of a part, than would be paid for that of the whole, 
if systematically arranged. Six thousand common schools in 
New York, fifty pupils in each, three hundred thousand in all ; 
one hundred and sixty thousand dollars annually paid to the 
masters ; forty established academies, with two thousand two 
hundred and eighteen pupils ; and five colleges, with seven hun 
dred and eighteen students ; to which last classes of institutions 
seven hundred and twenty thousand dollars have been given ; 
and the whole appropriations for education estimated at two and 
a half millions of dollars ! What a pigmy to this is Virginia 
become, with a population almost equal to that of New York ! 
And whence this difference ? From the difference their rulers 
set on the value of knowledge, and the prosperity it produces. 
But still, if a pigmy, let her do what a pigmy may do. If among 
fifty children in each of the six thousand schools of New York, 
there are only paupers enough to employ twenty-five dollars of 
public money to each school, surely among the ten children of 
each of our one thousand and two hundred schools, the same 
sum of twenty-five dollars to each school will teach its paupers, 
(five times as much as to the same number in New York,) and 
will amount for the whole to thirty thousand dollars a year, the 
one-half only of our literary revenue. 

Do then, dear Sir, think of this, and engage our friends to take 
in hand the whole subject. It will reconcile the friends of the 
elementary schools, and none are more warmly so than myself, 
lighten the difficulties of the University, and promote in every 
order of men the degree of instruction proportioned to their con 
dition, and to their views in life. It will combine with the mass 
of our force, a wise direction of it, which will insure to our 
country its future prosperity and safety. I had formerly thought 
that visitors of the school might be chosen by the county, and 
charged to provide teachers for every ward, and to superintend 
them. I now think it would be better for every ward to choose 

1 68 THE WRITINGS OF [1820 

its own resident visitor, whose business it would be to keep a 
teacher in the ward, to superintend the school, and to call meet 
ings of the ward for all purposes relating to it ; their accounts to 
be settled, and wards laid off by the courts. I think ward elec 
tions better for many reasons, one of which is sufficient, that it 
will keep elementary education out of the hands of fanaticising 
preachers, who, in county elections, would be universally chosen, 
and the predominant sect of the county would possess itself of 
all its schools. 

A wrist stiffened by an ancient accident, now more so by the 
effect of age, renders writing a slow and irksome operation with 
me. I cannot, therefore, present these views, by separate letters 
to each of our colleagues in the legislature, but must pray you to 
communicate them to Mr. Johnson and General Breckenridge, 
and to request them to consider this as equally meant for them. 
Mr. Gordon being the local representative of the University, and 
among its most zealous friends, would be a more useful second to 
General Breckenridge in the House of Delegates, by a free com 
munication of what concerns the University, with which he has 
had little opportunity of becoming acquainted. So, also, would 
it be to Mr. Rives, who would be a friendly advocate. 

Accept the assurances of my constant and affectionate esteem 
and respect. 


POPLAR FOREST, November 29, 1820. 

DEAR SIR, The enclosed letter from our ancient friend 
Tenche Coxe, came unfortunately to Monticello after I had left 
it, and has had a dilatory passage to this place, where I received 
it yesterday, and obey its injunction of immediate transmission 
to you. We should have recognized the style even without a 
signature, and although so written as to be much of it indecipher 
able. This is a sample of the effects we may expect from the 
late mischievous law vacating every four years nearly all the 
executive offices of the government. It saps the constitutional 
and salutary functions of the President, and introduces a princi 
ple of intrigue and corruption, which will soon leaven the mass, 


not only of Senators, but of citizens. It is more baneful than the 
attempt which failed in the beginning of the government, to make 
all officers irremovable but with the consent of the Senate. This 
places, every four years, all appointments under their power, and 
even obliges them to act on every one nomination. It will keep 
in constant excitement all the hungry cormorants for office, ren 
der them, as well as those in place, sycophants to their Senators, 
engage these in eternal intrigue to turn out one and put in an 
other, in cabals to swap work ; and make of them what all execu 
tive directories become, mere sinks of corruption and faction. 
This must have been one of the midnight signatures of the Presi 
dent, when he had not time to consider, or even to read the law ; 
and the more fatal as being irrepealable but with the consent of 
the Senate, which will never be obtained. 

F. Gilmer has communicated to me Mr. Correa's letter to him 
of adieux to his friends here, among whom he names most affec 
tionately Mrs. Madison and yourself. No foreigner, I believe, 
has ever carried with him more friendly regrets. He was to sail 
the next day (November 10) in the British packet for England, 
and thence take his passage in January for Brazil. His present 
views are of course liable to be affected by the events of Portugal, 
and the possible effects of their example on Brazil. I expect to 
return to Monticello about the middle of the ensuing month, and 
salute you with constant affection and respect. 


MONTICELLO, December 25, 1820. 

DEAR SIR, On my return home after a long absence, I find 
here your favor of November the 23d, with Colonel Taylor's 
" Construction Construed," which you have been so kind as to 
send me, in the name of the author as well as yourself. Permit 
me, if you please, to use the same channel for conveying to him 
the thanks I render you also for this mark of attention. I shall 
read it, I know, with edification, as I did his Inquiry, to which I 
acknowledge myself indebted for many valuable ideas, and for 
the correction of some errors of early opinion, never seen in a 

170 THE WRITINGS OF [1820 

correct light until presented to me in that work. That the present 
volume is equally orthodox, I know before reading it, because I 
know that Colonel Taylor and myself have rarely, if ever, differed 
in any political principle of importance. Every act of his life, 
and every word he ever wrote, satisfies me of this. So, also, as 
to the two Presidents, late and now in office, I know them both 
to be of principles as truly republican as any men living. If 
there be anything amiss, therefore, in the present state of our 
affairs, as the formidable deficit lately unfolded to us indicates, I 
ascribe it to the inattention of Congress to their duties, to their 
unwise dissipation and waste of the public contributions. They 
seemed, some little while ago, to be at a loss for objects whereon 
to throw away the supposed fathomless funds of the treasury. I 
had feared the result, because I saw among them some of my old 
fellow laborers, of tried and known principles, yet often in their 
minorities. I am aware that in one of their most ruinous vagaries, 
the people were themselves betrayed into the same phrenzy with 
their Representatives. The deficit produced, and a heavy tax to 
supply it, will, I trust, bring both to their sober senses. 

But it is not from this branch of government we have most to 
fear. Taxes and short elections will keep them right. The judi 
ciary of the United States is the subtle corps of sappers and 
miners constantly working under ground to undermine the foun 
dations of our confederated fabric. They are construing our 
constitution from a co-ordination of a general and special gov 
ernment to a general and supreme one alone. This will lay all 
things at their feet, and they are too well versed in English law 
to forget the maxim, " boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictioncm." 
We shall see if they are bold enough to take the daring stride 
their five lawyers have lately taken. If they do, then, with the 
editor of our book, in his address to the public, I will say, that 
"against this every man should raise his voice," and more, should 
uplift his arm. Who wrote this admirable address ? Sound, 
luminous, strong, not a word too much, nor one which can be 
changed but for the worse. That pen should go on, lay bare 
these wounds of our constitution, expose the decisions seriatim, 
and arouse, as it is able, the attention of the nation to these bold 
speculators on its patience. Having found, from experience, that 


impeachment is an impracticable thing, a mere scare-crow, they 
consider themselves secure for life ; they sculk from responsibility 
to public opinion, the only remaining hold on them, under a prac 
tice first introduced into England by Lord Mansfield. An opin 
ion is huddled up in conclave, perhaps by a majority of one, 
delivered as if unanimous, and with the silent acquiescence of 
lazy or timid associates, by a crafty chief judge, who sophisticates 
the law to his mind, by the turn of his own reasoning. A judici 
ary law was once reported by the Attorney General to Congress, 
requiring each judge to deliver his opinion seriatim and openly, 
and then to give it in writing to the clerk to be entered in the 
record. A judiciary independent of a king or executive alone, is 
a good thing ; but independence of the will of the nation is a 
solecism, at least in a republican government. 

But to return to your letter ; you ask for my opinion of the 
work you send me, and to let it go out to the public. This I 
have ever made a point of declining, (one or two instances only 
excepted.) Complimentary thanks to writers who have sent me 
their works, have betrayed me sometimes before the public, with 
out my consent having been asked. But I am far from presum 
ing to direct the reading of my fellow citizens, who are good 
enough judges themselves of what is worthy their reading. I am, 
also, too desirous of quiet to place myself in the way of conten 
tion. Against this I am admonished by bodily decay, which can 
not be unaccompanied by corresponding wane of the mind. Of 
this I am as yet sensible, sufficiently to be unwilling to trust my 
self before the public, and when I cease to be so, I hope that 
my friends will be too careful of me to draw me forth and pre 
sent me, like a Priam in armor, as a spectacle for public compas 
sion. I hope our political bark will ride through all its dangers ; 
but I can in future be but an inert passenger. 

I salute you with sentiments of great friendship and respect. 


MONTICELLO, Dec. 26. 20. 

DEAR SIR, Your acceptable letters of Mar. & Apr. 20 and of 
May 15. of the present year, have not been sooner answered, 

172 THE WRITINGS OF [1820 

nor the brochures you so kindly sent me, acknowledged because 
the state of my health has in a great degree interdicted to me the 
labors of the writing table. Add to this a stiffening wrist, the 
effect of age on an antient dislocation, which is likely to deprive 
me entirely of the use of the pen. 

We are expecting to see you all involved in war, in Europe. 
Revolutions going on in so many of it's countries, such military 
movements to suppress them, the intestine barbarisms of Engl? 
France, and Germany, seem impossible to pass away without war ; 
in a region too where war seems to be the natural state of man. 

Nor are we much at our ease here. The mischiefs of bank 
papers, catastrophe of our commerce, sudden and continued re 
duction of the nominal value of property & produce, which has 
doubled and trebled in fact the debts of those who owed any 
thing, place us in a state of great depression. But nothing dis 
turbs us so much as the dissension lately produced by what is 
called the Missouri question : a question having just enough of 
the semblance of morality to throw dust into the eyes of the peo 
ple, & to fanaticise them ; while with the knowing ones it is simply 
a question of power. The Federalists, unable to rise again under 
the old division of whig and tory, have invented a geographical 
division which gives them 14. states against 10. and seduces their 
old opponents into a coalition with them. Real morality is on 
the other side. For while the removal of slaves from one state to 
another adds no more to their numbers than their removal from 
one country to another, the spreading them over a larger surface 
adds to their happiness and renders their future emancipation 
more practicable. Mr. Botta when he published his excellent his 
tory of our revolution, was so kind as to send me a copy of it, for 
which I immediately & before I had read it, returned him my 
thanks. A careful perusal as soon as I had time made me sensible 
of it's high value, and anxious to get it translated & published. 
After some time I engaged a very competent person to undertake 
it, & lent him my copy. He proceeded however very slowly, & had 
made little progress when a Mr. Otis sent me a first volume of a 
translation he had made, and lately a zd, the 3d and last 
being now in press. It is well done, and I am anxious to send a 
copy to Mr. Botta, if I can find the means. The ist difficulty is. 


to keep it out of the French post office, which would tax it beyond 
it's value, and you know my situation among the mountains of the 
country, & how little probable it is that I should meet with a 
passenger going to Paris. I will therefore address a copy thro' my 
friend John Vaughan of Philadelphia and request him to deliver it 
to some passenger from that place to Paris. Would it be asking 
too great a favor of you to mention this, with my great respect, to 
Mr. Botta, supplying my inability to write ? And could you even 
go further, should you at any time find yourself in the bookshop 
of Messrs Debures and say to them that I shall take care in the 
spring to remit them the /g.^, balance of their last anovi, which 
arrived safely, to which I shall add a further call for some books. 
Our family, all present at least, join in friendly remembrances 
of you. Mr. Randolph is at present our Governor, & of course at 
Richmond. He has had the courage to propose to our legislature 
a plan of general emancipation & deportation of our slaves. 
Altho this is not ripe to be immediately acted on, it will, with the 
Missouri question, force a serious attention to this object by our 
citizens, which the vicinage of St. Domingo brings within the 
scope of possibility. I salute you with constant & affectionate 
respect and attachment. 


MONTICELLO, Dec. 26. 20. 

Long ill health, dear Sir, has brought me much into default 
with my corresponding friends, and it's sufferings have been aug 
mented by the remorse resulting from this default. I learnt with 
pleasure from your last letter, and from a later one of M. de la 
Fayette, that you were mending in health, and particularly that 
your eye-sight was sensibly improved. I have to thank you for 
the copy of your Commentary on Montesquieu accompanying your 
letter, and a second thro Mr. Barnet. The world ought to possess 
it in it's native language, which cannot be compensated by any 
translation. This edition published here is now exhausted, and 
the copyright being near out, it will be reprinted with a corrected 
translation. For altho the former was one sent to me for revisal, 
sheet by sheet, yet the original not being sent with them (for the 

174 THE WRITINGS OF [1820 

printer was 100. leagues distant) I could correct inaccuracies of 
language only, and not inconformities of sentiment with the orig 
inal. The original MS. was returned to me afterwards, and I hold 
it as testimony against the infidelities of Liege, or of another 

A second edition of your Economic Politique will soon also be 
called for here, in which Milligan's error on the freedom of your 
press will not be repeated. When he first printed the Prospectus 
of that work, the observation was true, as it was some time be 
fore your original was published in Paris. But he was so slow 
in getting it thro* the press that the original appeared before 
his translation. He ought certainly after that to have omitted 
or corrected his prospectus. The knowledge however of your 
charter has corrected the error here, by it's sanction of the free 
dom of the press, and the publication of the work there, and still 
more that of the commentary on Montesquieu are a full vindica 
tion of the character of the Charter. These two works will be 
come the Statesman's Manual, with us, and they certainly shall be 
the elementary books of the political department in our new Uni 
versity. This institution of my native state, the Hobby of my 
old age, will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human 
mind, to explore and to expose every subject susceptible of it's 

I still hold and duly value your little MS. entitled 'Logique.' 
Being too small to make a volume of itself, I had put it into the 
hands of a very able editor of a periodical publication which 
promised to be valuable. It would have made a distinguished 
article in that work ; but it's continuance having failed for want 
of the encouragement it merited, 1 was disappointed in the hope 
of giving, to the world this compendious demonstration of the 
reality & limits of human knolege. I am still on the watch for a 
favorable opportunity of doing it. I am not without the hope 
that the improvement in your health may enable you still to com- 
pleat your Encyclopedic Morale, by adding the volume which was 
to treat of our sentiments and passions. This would fill up our 
moral circle, and the measure of our obligations to you. 

We go with you all lengths in friendly affections to the inde- 
pendance of S. America. But an immediate acknolegement of it 

i8 2 o] THOMAS JEFFERSON. 175 

calls up other considerations. We view Europe as covering at 
present a smothered fire, which may shortly burst forth and pro 
duce general conflagration. From this it is our duty to keep 
aloof. A formal acknolegement of the independance of her 
colonies would involve us with Spain certainly, and perhaps too 
with England, if she thinks that a war would divert her internal 
troubles. Such a war would hurt us more than it would help our 
brethren of the South : and our right may be doubted of mort 
gaging posterity for the expences of a war in which they will 
have a right to say their interests were not concerned. It is in 
cumbent on every generation to pay it's own debts as it goes. A 
principle which, if acted on, would save one half the wars of the 
world ; and justifies I think our present circumspection. In 
the meantime we receive & protect the flag of S. America in it's 
commercial intercourse with us, in the acknoleged principles of 
neutrality between two belligerant parties in a civil war : and if 
we should not be the first, we shall certainly be the second nation 
in acknoleging the entire independance of our new friends. 
What that independance will end in, I fear is problematical. 
Whether in wise government or military despotisms. But pre 
pared however, or not, for self-government, if it is their will to 
make the trial, it is our duty and desire to wish it cordially 
success, and of ultimate success there can be no doubt, and that 
it will richly repay all intermediate sufferings. Of this your 
country, as well as ours, furnishes living examples. With the ex 
pression of hopes for them, accept my prayers for the perfect 
restoration of your health, & it's continuance thro' a life as long 
as you shall wish it. 


MONTICELLO, December 26, 1820. 

DEAR SIR, " It is said to be an ill wind which blows favorably 
to no one." My health has long suspended the too frequent 
troubles I have heretofore given you with my European corre 
spondence. To this is added a stiffening wrist, the effects of 
age on an ancient dislocation, which renders writing slow and 
painful, and disables me nearly from all correspondence, and may 

176 THE WRITINGS OF [1820 

very possibly make this the last trouble I shall give you in that 

Looking from our quarter of the world over the horizon of 
yours, we imagine we see storms gathering which may again deso 
late the face of that country. So many revolutions going on in 
different countries at the same time, such combinations of tyranny 
and military preparations and movements to suppress them, Eng 
land and France unsafe from internal conflict, Germany on the 
first favorable occasion ripe for insurrection, such a state of things, 
we suppose, must end in war, which needs a kindling spark in one 
spot only to spread over the whole. Your information can cor 
rect these views, which are stated only to inform you of impres 
sions here. 

At home things are not well. The flood of paper money, as 
you well know, had produced an exaggeration of nominal prices, 
and at the same time a facility of obtaining money, which not 
only encouraged speculations on fictitious capital, but seduced 
those of real capital, even in private life, to contract debts too 
freely. Had things continued in the same course, these might 
have been managable : but the operations of the United States 
Bank for the demolition of the States banks obliged these sud 
denly to call in more than half their paper, crushed all fictitious 
and doubtful capital, and reduced the prices of property and pro 
duce suddenly to one-third of what they had been. Wheat, for 
example, at the distance of two or three days from market, fell 
to, and continued at, from one-third to half a dollar. Should it 
be stationary at this for a while, a very general revolution of 
property must take place. Something of the same character has 
taken place in our fiscal system. A little while back, Congress 
seemed at a loss for objects whereon to squander the supposed 
fathomless fund of our Treasury. This short frenzy has been 
arrested by a deficit of 5 millions the last year and of 7 millions 
this year. A loan was adopted for the former and is proposed for 
the latter, which threatens to saddle us with a perpetual debt. I 
hope a tax will be preferred, because it will awaken the attention 
of the people and make reformation and economy the principles 
of the next election. The frequent recurrence of this chastening 
operation can alone restrain the propensity of governments to 


enlarge expense beyond income. The steady tenor of the courts 
of the United States to break down the constitutional barriers be 
tween the co-ordinate powers of the States and of the Union, and 
a formal opinion lately given by five lawyers of too much emi 
nence, to be neglected, give uneasiness. But nothing has ever 
presented so threatening an aspect as what is called the Missouri 
question. The Federalists, completely put down and despairing 
of ever rising again under the old divisions of Whig and Tory, 
devised a new one of slave-holding and non-slave-holding States, 
which, while it had a semblance of being moral, was at the same 
time geographical, and calculated to give them ascendency by 
debauching their old opponents to a coalition with them. Moral 
the question certainly is not, because the removal of slaves from 
one State to another, no more than their removal from one coun 
try to another, would never make a slave of one human being 
who would not be so without it. Indeed, if there were any mor 
ality in the question it is on the other side ; because by spreading 
them over a larger surface their happiness would be increased, 
and burden of their future liberation lightened by bringing a 
greater number of shoulders under it. However, it served to 
throw dust into the eyes of the people and to fanaticize them, 
while to the knowing ones it gave a geographical and preponder 
ant line of the Potomac and Ohio, throwing fourteen States to the 
North and East, and ten to the South and West. With these, 
therefore, it is merely a question of power ; but with this geo 
graphical minority it is a question of existence. For if Congress 
once goes out of the Constitution to arrogate a right of regulating 
the condition of the inhabitants of the States, its majority may, 
and probably will, next declare that the condition of all men 
within the United States shall be that of freedom ; in which case 
all the whites south of the Potomac and Ohio must evacuate their 
States, and most fortunate those who can do it first. And so far 
this crisis seems to- be advancing. The Missouri constitution is 
recently rejected by the House of Representatives ; what will be 
their next step is yet to be seen. If accepted on the condition 
that Missouri shall expunge from it the prohibition of free people 
of color from emigration to their State, it will be expunged, and 
all will be quieted until the advance of some new State, shall pre- 

VOL. X. 12 

178 THE WRITINGS OF [1820 

sent the question again. If rejected unconditionally, Missouri 
assumes independent self-government, and Congress, after pout 
ing awhile, must receive them on the footing of the original 
States. Should the Representatives propose force, i, the Senate 
will not concur ; 2, were they to concur, there would be a seces 
sion of the members south of the line, and probably of the three 
Northwestern States, who, however inclined to the other side, 
would scarcely separate from those who would hold the Missis 
sippi from its mouth to its source. What next ? Conjecture itself 
is at a loss. But whatever it shall be you will hear from others 
and from the newspapers ; and finally the whole will depend on 
Pennsylvania. While she and Virginia hold together, the Atlantic 
States can never separate. Unfortunately, in the present case she 
has become more fanatisized than any other State. However 
useful where you are, I wish you were with them. You might 
turn the scale there, which would turn it for the whole. Should 
this scission take place, one of the most deplorable consequences 
would be its discouragement of the efforts of the European 
nations in the regeneration of their oppressive and cannibal gov 
ernments. Amidst this prospect of evil I am glad to see one good 
effect. It has brought the necessity of some plan of general 
emancipation and deportation more home to the minds of our 
people than it has ever been before, insomuch that our governor 
has ventured to propose one to the Legislature. This will proba 
bly not be acted on at this time, nor would it be effectual ; for, 
while it proposes to devote to that object one-third of the revenue 
of the State, it would not reach one-tenth of the annual increase. 
My proposition would be that the holders should give up all born 
after a certain day, past, present, or to come ; that these should 
be placed under the guardianship of the State, and sent at a 
proper age to St. Domingo. They are willing to receive them, 
and the shortness of the passage brings the deportation within the 
possible means of taxation, aided by charitable contributions. 
In these I think Europe, which has forced this evil on us, and the 
Eastern States, who have been its chief instruments of importa 
tion, would be bound to give largely. But the proceeds of the 
land office, if appropriate to this, would be quite sufficient. God 
bless you, and preserve you multos aflos. 



MONTICELLO, December 26, 1820. 

It is long, indeed, my very dear friend, since I have 
been able to address a letter to you. For more than 
two years my health has been so entirely prostrate, 
that I have, of necessity, intermitted all correspond 
ence. The dislocated wrist, too, which perhaps you 
may recollect, has now become so stiff from the 
effects of age, that writing is become a slow and 
painful operation, and scarcely ever undertaken but 
under the goad of imperious business. In the mean 
time your country has been going on less well than I 
had hoped. But it will go on. The light which has 
been shed on the mind of man through the civilized 
world, has given it a new direction, from which no 
human power can divert it. The sovereigns of Eu 
rope who are wise, or have wise counsellors, see this, 
and bend to the breese which blows ; the unwise 
alone stiffen and meet its inevitable crush. The vol 
canic rumblings in the bowels of Europe, from north 
to south, seem to threaten a general explosion, and 
the march of armies into Italy cannot end in a simple 
march. The disease of liberty is catching ; those 
armies will take it in the south, carry it thence to 
their own country, spread there the infection of revo 
lution and representative government, and raise its 
people from- the prone condition of brutes to the 
erect altitude of man. Some fear our envelopment 
in the wars engendering from the unsettled state of 
our affairs with Spain, and therefore are anxious for 
a ratification of our treaty with her. I fear no such 

i8o THE WRITINGS OF [1820 

thing, and hope that if ratified by Spain it will be re 
jected here. We may justly say to Spain, "when 
this negotiation commenced, twenty years ago, your 
authority was acknowledged by those you are selling 
to us. That authority is now renounced, and their 
right of self-disposal asserted. In buying them from 
you, then, we buy but a war-title, a right to subdue 
them, which you can neither convey nor we acquire. 
This is a family quarrel in which we have no right to 
meddle. Settle it between yourselves, and we will 
then treat with the party whose right is acknow 
ledged." With whom that will be, no doubt can be 
entertained. And why should we revolt them by 
purchasing them as cattle, rather than receiving them 
as fellow-men ? Spain has held off until she sees 
they are lost to her, and now thinks it better to get 
something than nothing for them. When she shall 
see South America equally desperate, she will be wise 
to sell that also. 

With us things are going on well. The boisterous 
sea of liberty indeed is never without a wave, and 
that from Missouri is now rolling towards us, but we 
shall ride over it as we have over all others. It is 
not a moral question, but one merely of power. Its 
object is to raise a geographical principle for the 
choice of a president, and the noise will be kept up 
till that is effected. All know that permitting the 
slaves of the south to spread into the west will not 
add one being to that unfortunate condition, that it 
will increase the happiness of those existing, and by 
spreading them over a larger surface, will dilute the 


evil everywhere, and facilitate the means of getting 
finally rid of it, an event more anxiously wished 
by those on whom it presses than by the noisy 
pretenders to exclusive humanity. In the meantime, 
it is a ladder for rivals climbing to power. * * * 


MONTICELLO, Jan. 13, 21. 

DEAR SIR, I return you Mr. Coxe's letter without saying I 
have read it. I made out enough to see that it was about the 
Missouri question, and the printed papers told me on which side 
he was. Could I have devoted a day to it, by interlining the 
words as I could pick them out, I might have got at more. The 
lost books of Livy or Tacitus might be worth this. Our friend 
would do well to write less and write plainer. 

I am sorry to hear of the situation of your family, and the more 
so as that species of fever is dangerous in the hands of our medi 
cal boys. I am not a physician & still less a quack but I may re 
late a fact. While I was at Paris, both my daughters were taken 
with what we formerly called a nervous fever, now a typhus, dis 
tinguished very certainly by a thread-like pulse, low, quick and 
every now and then fluttering. Dr. Gem, an English physician, 
old, & of great experience, & certainly the ablest I ever met with, 
attended them. The one was about 5. or 6. weeks ill, the other 
10. years old was 8. or ten weeks. He never gave them a single 
dose of physic. He told me it was a disease which tended with 
certainty to wear itself off, but so slowly that the strength of the 
patient might first fail if not kept up. That this alone was the 
object to be attended to by nourishment and stimulus. He forced 
them to eat a cup of rice, or panada, or gruel, or of some of the 
farinaceous substances of easy digestion every 2. hours and to 
drink a glass of Madeira. The youngest took a pint of Madeira 
a day without feeling it, and that for many weeks. For costive- 
ness, injections were used ; and he observed that a single dose 
of medicine taken into the stomach and consuming any of the 

182 THE WRITINGS OF [1821 

strength of the patient was often fatal. He was attending a 
grandson of Mme. Helvetius, of 10 years old, at the same time, & 
under the same disease. The boy got so low that the old lady 
became alarmed and wished to call in another physician for con 
sultation. Gem consented, that physician gave a gentle purgative, 
but it exhausted what remained of strength, and the patient ex 
pired in a few hours. 

I have had this fever in my family 3. or 4. times since I have 
lived at home, and have carried between 20. & 30. patients thro' 
it without losing a single one, by a rigorous observance of Dr. 
Gem's plan and principle. Instead of Madeira I have used toddy 
of French brandy about as strong as Madeira. Brown preferred 
this stimulus to Madeira. I rarely had a case, if taken in hand 
early, to last above i. 2. or 3. weeks, except a single one of 7. 
weeks, in whom when I thought him near his last, I discovered a 
change in his pulse to regularity, and in 12. hours he was out of 
danger. I vouch for these facts only, not for their theory. You 
may on their authority, think it expedient to try a single case be 
fore it has shewn signs of danger. 

On the portentous question before Congress, I think our Holy 
Alliance will find themselves so embarrassed with the difficulties 
presented to them as to find their solution only in yielding to 
Missouri her entrance on the same footing with the other states, 
that is to say with the right to admit or exclude slaves at her own 
discretion. Ever & affectionately yours. 

P. S. I should have observed that the same typhus fever pre 
vailed in my neighborhood at the same times as in my family, 
and that it was very fatal in the hands of our Philadelphia Tyros. 


MONTICELLO, January 19, 1821. 

DEAR FRANCIS, Your letter of the ist came safely to hand. 
I am sorry you have lost Mr. Elliot, however the kindness of 
Dr. Cooper will be able to keep you in the track of what is 
worthy of your time. 


You ask my opinion of Lord Bolingbroke and Thomas Paine. 
They were alike in making bitter enemies of the priests and 
pharisees of their day. Both were honest men ; both advocates 
for human liberty. Paine wrote for a country which permitted 
him to push his reasoning to whatever length it would go. Lord 
Bolingbroke in one restrained by a constitution, and by public 
opinion. He was called indeed a tory ; but his writings prove 
him a stronger advocate for liberty than any of his countrymen, 
the whigs of the present day. Irritated by his exile, he com 
mitted one act unworthy of him, in connecting himself moment 
arily with a prince rejected by his country. But he redeemed 
that single act by his establishment of the principles which proved 
it to be wrong. These two persons differed remarkably in the 
style of their writing, each leaving a model of what is most per 
fect in both extremes of the simple and the sublime. No writer 
has exceeded Paine in ease and familiarity of style, in perspi 
cuity of expression, happiness of elucidation, and in simple and 
unassuming language. In this he may be compared with Dr. 
Franklin ; and indeed his Common Sense was, for awhile, be 
lieved to have been written by Dr. Franklin, and published un 
der the borrowed name of Paine, who had come over with him 
from England. Lord Bolingbroke's, on the other hand, is a 
style of the highest order. The lofty, rhythmical, full-flowing 
eloquence of Cicero. Periods of just measure, their members 
proportioned, their close full and round. His conceptions, too, 
are bold and strong, his diction copious, polished and command 
ing as his subject. His writings are certainly the finest samples 
in the English language, of the eloquence proper for the Senate. 
His political tracts are safe reading for the most timid religion 
ist, his philosophical, for those who are not afraid to trust their 
reason with discussions of right and wrong. 

You have asked my opinion of these persons, and, io you, I 
have given it freely. But, remember, that I am old, that I wish 
not to make new enemies, nor to give offence to those who 
would consider a difference of opinion as sufficient ground for 
unfriendly dispositions. God bless you, and make you what I 
wish you to be. 

1 84 THE WRITINGS OF [1821 


MONTICELLO, January ig, 1821. 

DEAR SIR, I duly received your favor of the nth, covering 
Judge Roane's letter, which I now return. Of the kindness of 
his sentiments expressed towards myself I am highly sensible ; 
and could I believe that my public services had merited the ap 
probation he so indulgently bestows, the satisfaction I should 
derive from it would be reward enough to his wish that I would 
take a part in the transactions of the present day. I am sensible 
of my incompetence. For first, I know little about them, having 
long withdrawn my attention from public affairs, and resigned 
myself with folded arms to the care of those who are to care for 
us all. And, next, the hand of time pressing heavily on me, in 
mind as well as body, leaves to neither sufficient energy to engage 
in public contentions. I am sensible of the inroads daily making 
by the federal, into the jurisdiction of its co-ordinate associates, 
the State governments. The legislative and executive branches 
may sometimes err, but elections and dependence will bring them 
to rights/- The judiciary branch is the instrument which, working 
like gravity, without intermission, is to press us at last into one 
consolidated mass. Against this I know no one who, equally 
with Judge Roane himself, possesses the power and the courage to 
make resistance ; and to him I look, and have long looked, as our 
strongest bulwark. If Congress fails to shield the States from 
dangers so palpable and so imminent, the States must shield them 
selves, and meet the invader foot to foot. This is already half 
done by Colonel Taylor's book ; because a conviction that we are 
right accomplishes half the difficulty of correcting wrong. This 
book is the most effectual retraction of our government to its 
original principles which has ever yet been sent by heaven to our 
aid. Every State in the Union should give a copy to every mem 
ber they elect, as a standing instruction, and ours should set the 
example. Accept with Mrs. Thweat the assurance of my affec 
tionate and respectful attachment. 1 

1 Jefferson again wrote to Thweat : 

MONTICELLO, Dec. 24, 21. 

DEAR SIR, I have duly received your two favors of Nov. 6. & Dec. 13. re 
questing me to consent to the publication of my opinion on the encroachments 



MONTICELLO, January 22, 1821. 

I was quite rejoiced, dear Sir, to see that you had 
health and spirits enough to take part in the late con 
vention of your State, for revising its constitution, 
and to bear your share in its debates and labors. 
The amendments of which we have as yet heard, 
prove the advance of liberalism in the intervening 
period ; and encourage a hope that the human mind 
will some day get back to the freedom it enjoyed two 
thousand years ago. This country, which has given 
to the world the example of physical liberty, owes to 
it that of moral emancipation also, for as yet it is but 
nominal with us. The inquisition of public opinion 
overwhelms in practice, the freedom asserted by the 
laws in theory. 

of the judiciary of the U.S. expressed in a former letter to you, but my dear 
Sir, there is a time for things ; for advancing and for retiring ; for a Sabbath of 
rest as well as for days of labor, and surely that Sabbath has arrived for one 
near entering on his Both year. Tranquility is the summum bonum of that age. I 
wish now for quiet, to withdraw from the broils of the world, to soothe enmities 
and to die in the peace and good will of all mankind. The thing too which you 
request has been done in substance. In the extract of a letter, published with 
my consent, recommending Colo. Taylor's book, and in a letter to a Mr. Jarvis, 
who wrote and sent me a book entitled ' the Republican,' in which letter, I for 
mally combated his heretical doctrine that the judiciary is the ultimate expounder 
and arbiter of all constitutional questions. You are not aware of the inveterate 
hatred still rankling in the hearts of some of our old tories. I received the last 
summer a 4th of July oration from the son of a deceased friend. In my 
answer I commended it's principles in moderate and inoffensive terms, express 
ing at the same time my affections for his father. He published my letter, and 
it drew on me torrents of abuse, from particular tory papers, in the revived 
spirit of 96. and 1800. Their columns were filled with Billingsgate against me, 
for several months. No, my dear friend, permit me at length to retire from 
the angry passions of mankind and to pass in undisturbed repose the few days 
remaining to me of life. They will surely be past in sentiments of sincere es 
teem and respect for yourself, and affectionate attachment to Mrs. Thweat. 

1 86 THE WRITINGS OF [1821 

Our anxieties in this quarter are all concentrated 
in the question, what does the Holy Alliance in and 
out of Congress mean to do with us on the Missouri 
question ? And this, by-the-bye, is but the name of 
the case, it is only the John Doe or Richard Roe of 
the ejectment. The real question, as seen in the 
States afflicted with this unfortunate population, is, 
are our slaves to be presented with freedom and a 
dagger ? For if Congress has the power to regulate 
the conditions of the inhabitants of the States, within 
the States, it will be but another exercise of that 
power, to declare that all shall be free. Are we then 
to see again Athenian and Lacedemonian confedera 
cies ? To wage another Peloponnesian war to settle 
the ascendency between them ? Or is this the tocsin 
of merely a servile war ? That remains to be seen ; 
but not, I hope, by you or me. Surely, they will 
parley awhile, and give us time to get out of the way. 
What a Bedlamite is man ? But let us turn from our 
own uneasiness to the miseries of our southern 
friends. Bolivar and Morillo, it seems, have come to 
the parley, with dispositions at length to stop the use 
less effusion of human blood in that quarter. I feared 
from the beginning, that these people were not yet 
sufficiently enlightened for self-government ; and that 
after wading through blood and slaughter, they would 
end in military tyrannies, more or less numerous. 
Yet as they wished to try the experiment, I wished 
them success in it ; they have now tried it, and will 
possibly find that their safest road will be an accom 
modation with the mother country, which shall hold 


them together by the single link of the same chief 
magistrate, leaving to him power enough to keep 
them in peace with one another, and to themselves 
the essential power of self-government and self-im 
provement, until they shall be sufficiently trained by 
education and habits of freedom, to walk safely by 
themselves. Representative government, native func 
tionaries, a qualified negative on their laws, with a 
previous security by compact for freedom of com 
merce, freedom of the press, habeas corpus and trial by 
jury, would make a good beginning. This last would 
be the school in which their people might begin to 
learn the exercise of civil duties as well as rights. 
For freedom of religion they are not yet prepared. 
The scales of bigotry have not sufficiently fallen 
from their eyes, to accept it for themselves indi 
vidually, much less to trust others with it. But that 
will come in time, as well as a general ripeness to 
break entirely from the parent stem. You see, my 
dear Sir, how easily we prescribe for others a cure for 
their difficulties, while we cannot cure our own. We 
must leave both, I believe, to heaven, and wrap our 
selves up in the mantle of resignation, and of that 
friendship of which I tender to you the most sincere 


MONTICELLO, Feb. 15. 21. 

DEAR SIR, I have just now received your favor of Jan. 30. 
and confirm, by my belief, Mr. Jay's criticism on the passages 
quoted from Botta. I can answer for it's truth from this state 

1 88 THE WRITINGS OF [1821 

southwardly, and Northwardly, I believe, to New York, for which 
state Mr. Jay is himself a competent witness. What, Eastward of 
that, might be the dispositions towards England before the com 
mencement of hostilities I know not. Before that I never had 
heard a whisper of disposition to separate from Great Britain. 
And after that, it's possibility was contemplated with affliction by 
all. Writing is so slow and painful to me that I cannot go into 
details, but must refer you to Girardin's history of Virginia pa. 
134. and Appendix No. 12, where you will find some evidence of 
what the sentiment was at the moment, and given at the moment. 
I salute you with great esteem & respect. 


MONTICELLO, March 9, 1821. 

DEAR SIR, I am indebted for your favor of February 25th, 
and especially for your friendly indulgence to my excuses for re 
tiring from the polemical world. I should not shrink from the 
post of duty, had not the decays of nature withdrawn me from 
the list of combatants. Great decline in the energies of the body 
import naturally a corresponding wane of the mind, and a long 
ing after tranquillity as the last and sweetest asylum of age. It 
is a law of nature that the generations of men should give way, 
one to another, and I hope that the one now on the stage will 
preserve for their sons the political blessings delivered into their 
hands by their fathers. Time indeed changes manners and no 
tions, and so far we must expect institutions to bend to them. 
But time produces also corruption of principles, and against this 
it is the duty of good citizens to be ever on the watch, and if the 
gangrene is to prevail at last, let the day be kept off as long as 
possible. We see already germs of this, as might be expected. 
But we are not the less bound to press against them. The mul 
tiplication of public offices, increase of expense beyond income, 
growth and entailment of a public debt, are indications soliciting 
the employment of the pruning-knife ; and I doubt not it will be 
employed ; good principles being as yet prevalent enough for 


The great object of my fear is the federal judiciary. That 
body, like gravity, ever acting, with noiseless foot, and unalarm- 
ing advance, gaining ground step by step, and holding what it 
gains, is ingulphing insidiously the special governments into the 
jaws of that which feeds them. The recent recall to first prin 
ciples, however, by Colonel Taylor, by yourself, and now by 
Alexander Smith, will, I hope, be heard and obeyed, and that a 
temporary check will be effected. Yet be not weary of well 
doing. Let the eye of vigilance never be closed. 

Last and most portentous of all is the Missouri question. It is 
smeared over for the present ; but its geographical demarcation is 
indelible. What it is to become, I see not ; and leave to those 
who will live to see it. The University will give employment 
to my remaining years, and quite enough for my senile faculties. 
It is the last act of usefulness I can render, and could I see it 
open I would not ask an hour more of life. To you I hope 
many will still be given ; and, certain they will all be employed 
for the good of our beloved country, I salute you with sentiments 
of especial friendship and respect. 1 

1 Jefferson further wrote to Judge Roane : 

MONTICELLO, June 27, 1821. 

DEAR SIR, I have received through the hands of the Governor, Colonel 
Taylor's letter to you. It is with extreme reluctance that I permit myself to 
usurp the office of an adviser of the public, what books they should read, and 
what not. I yield, however, on this occasion to your wish and that of Colonel 
Taylor, and do what (with a single exception only) I never did before, on the 
many similar applications made to me. On reviewing my letters to Colonel 
Taylor and to Mr. Thweat, neither appeared exactly proper. Each contained 
matter which might give offence to the judges, without adding strength to the 
opinion. I have, therefore, out of the two, cooked up what may be called " an 

extract of a letter from Th : J. to ; " but without saying it is published 

with my consent. That would forever deprive me of the ground of declining 
the office of a Reviewer'of books in future cases. I sincerely wish the attention 
of the public may be drawn to the doctrines of the book ; and if this self-styled 
extract may contribute to it, I shall be gratified. I salute you with constant 
friendship and respect. 

The " cooked up " commendation was : 


" I have read Colonel Taylor's book of ' Constructions Construed,' with 
great satisfaction, and, I will say, with edification ; for I acknowledge it cor- 

190 THE WRITINGS OF [1821 


MONTICELLO, Apr. 12. 21. 

DEAR SIR, I received yesterday your favor of the 5th and now 
inclose for Mr. Barton a letter of introduction to M. de la Fayette, 
the only personal acquaintance I have, now living in France. 

On politics I can say little to you, having withdrawn all atten 
tion to them from the day of my retirement. My confidence in 
both my successors has been so entire, that assured that all was 
going on for the best under their care I have not enquired what 
was going on. I am sorry to see our expences greater than our 
income. Debt & revolution are inseparable as cause and effect. 
It is the point of peculiar sensibility in our people, and one 
which they will not long endure. Parties will be arrayed on the 
principle of reformation, and there can be no doubt which will 

reeled some errors of opinion into which I had slidden without sufficient exam 
ination. It is the most logical retraction of our governments to the original and 
true principles of the constitution creating them, which has appeared since the 
adoption of that instrument. I may not perhaps concur in all its opinions, 
great and small ; for no two men ever thought alike on so many points. But 
on all its important questions, it contains the true political faith, to which every 
catholic republican should steadfastly hold. It should be put into the hands of 
all our functionaries, authoritatively, as a standing instruction, and true expo 
sition of our Constitution, as understood at the time we agreed to it. It is a 
fatal heresy to suppose that either our State governments are superior to the 
federal, or the federal to the States. The people, to whom all authority be 
longs, have divided the powers of government into two distinct departments, 
the leading characters of which are foreign and domestic ; and they have ap 
pointed for each a distinct set of functionaries. These they have made co-ordi 
nate, checking and balancing each other, like the three cardinal departments in 
the individual States : each equally supreme as to the powers delegated to it 
self, and neither authorized ultimately to decide what belongs to itself, or to its 
coparcener in government. As independent, in fact, as different nations, a 
spirit of forbearance and compromise, therefore, and not of encroachment and 
usurpation, is the healing balm of such a constitution ; and each party should 
prudently shrink from all approach to the line of demarcation, instead of rashly 
overleaping it, or throwing grapples ahead to haul to hereafter. But, finally, 
the peculiar happiness of our blessed system is, that in differences of opinion 
between these different sets of servants, the appeal is to neither, but to their 
employers peaceably assembled by their representatives in Convention. This is 
more rational than the jus fortioris, or the cannon's mouth, the ultima et sola 
ratio regum" 


be the strongest. It would do some good if it would obliterate 
the geographical division which threatened and still threatens 
our separation. This last is a most fatal of all divisions as no 
minority will submit to be governed by a majority acting merely 
on a geographical principle. It has ever been my creed that 
the continuance of our union depends entirely on Pennsylve & 
Virginia, if they hold together nothing North or South will fly off. 
I firmly believe all the governments of Europe will become rep 
resentative. The very troops sent to quell the spirit of reformn. 
in Naples will catch the fever & carry it back to their own 
country. We owe to all mankind the sacrifice of those morbid 
passions which would break our confederacy, the only anchor 
to which the hopes of the world are moored. Our thoughts and 
conversations are often turned to Mrs. Smith & yourself, and 
always affectionately. In these sentiments the family now joins 
me, and in tendering to you our affectionate souvenirs. 


MONTICELLO, August 17, l82I. 

DEAR SIR, Your favor of the 8th came to hand yesterday 
evening. I hope you will never suppose your letters to be among 
those which are troublesome to me. They are always welcome, 
and it is among my great comforts to hear from my ancient col 
leagues, and to know that they are well. The affectionate recol 
lection of Mrs. Dearborne, cherished by our family, will ever 
render her health and happiness interesting to them. You are 
so far astern of Mr. Adams and myself, that you must not yet talk 
of old age. I am happy to hear of his good health. I think he 
will outlive us all, I mean the Declaration-men, although our 
senior since the death of Colonel Floyd. It is a race in which I 
have no ambition to win. Man, like the fruit he eats, has his 
period of ripeness. Like that, too, if he continues longer hang 
ing to the stem, it is but an useless and unsightly appendage. I 
rejoice with you that the State of Missouri is at length a member 
of our Union. Whether the question it excited is dead, or only 
sleepeth, I do not know. I see only that it has given resurrec- 

i 9 2 THE WRITINGS OF [1821 

tion to the Hartford convention men. They have had the ad 
dress, by playing on the honest feelings of our former friends, to 
seduce them from their kindred spirits, and to borrow their weight 
into the federal scale. Desperate of regaining power under po 
litical distinctions, they have adroitly wriggled into its seat under 
the auspices of morality, and are again in the ascendency from 
which their sins had hurled them. It is indeed of little con 
sequence who governs us, if they sincerely and zealously cherish 
the principles of union and republicanism. 

I still believe that the Western extension of our confederacy 
will ensure its duration, by overruling local factions, which might 
shake a smaller association. But whatever may be the merit or 
demerit of that acquisition, I divide it with my colleagues, to 
whose counsels I was indebted for a course of administration 
which, notwithstanding this late coalition of clay and brass, will, 
I hope, continue to receive the approbation of our country. 

The portrait by Stewart was received in due time and good 
order, and claims, for this difficult acquisition, the thanks of the 
family, who join me in affectionate souvenirs of Mrs. Dearborne 
and yourself. My particular salutations to both flow, as ever, 
from the heart, continual and warm. 



DEAR SIR, You have probably seen in the newspapers a letter 
of mine recommending Colo. Taylor's book to the notice of our 
fellow-citizens. I am pelted for it in print, and in letters, also 
complaining of the unfair use made of it by certain commentators. 
For this misuse I cannot be responsible. But I inclose to you 
my answer to one of these letters and place it in your hands as the 
Depository of old & sound principles and as a record of my pro 
test against this parricide tribunal. There are two measures 
which if not taken, we are undone, ist. to check these uncon 
stitutional invasions of state rights by the federal judiciary. How ? 
not by impeachment in the first instance, but by a strong protesta 
tion of both houses of Congress that such and such doctrines, 


advanced by the supreme court, are contrary to the constitution : 
and if afterwards they relapse into the same heresies, impeach 
and set the whole adrift. For what was the government di 
vided into three branches, but that each should watch over the 
others, and oppose their usurpations ? 2. To cease borrowing 
money & to pay off the national debt. If this cannot be done 
without dismissing the army & putting the ships out of commis 
sion, haul them up high and dry, and reduce the army to the low 
est point at which it was ever established. There does not exist 
an engine so corruptive of the government and so demoralizing 
of the nation as a public debt. It will bring on us more ruin at 
home than all the enemies from abroad against whom this army 
and navy are to protect us. What interest have we in keeping 
ships in service in the Pacific Ocean ? To protect a few specula 
tive adventurers in a commerce dealing in nothing in which we 
have an interest. As if the Atlantic & Mediterranean were not 
large enough for American capital ! As if commerce and not 
agriculture was the principle of our association ! God bless you 
& long continue your wholesome influence in the public councils. 1 
1 In reply to a question from Macon concerning this letter, Jefferson wrote to 

BUCKSPRING, Oct. 20, '21. 

Absence at an occasional but distant residence prevented my receiving 
your friendly letter of Oct. 20. till 3. d. ago. A line from good old friends is 
like balm to my soul. You ask me what you are to do with my letter of Sep. 
19. I wrote it, my dear Sir, with no other view than to pour my thoughts into 
your bosom. I knew they would be safe there, and I believed they would be 
welcome, but if you think, as you say, that " good would be done by shewing it 
to a few well tried friends " I have no objectn to that. But ultimately you can 
not do better than to throw it into the fire. My confidence, as you kindly ob 
served, has been often abused by the publication of my Itres for the purposes of 
interest or vanity ; and it has been to me the source of much pain to be exhib 
ited before the public in forms not meant for them. I receive Ires expressed in 
the most frdly & even affectionate terms, sometimes perhaps asking my opn on 
some subject. I cannot refuse to answer such letters, nor can I do it dryly & 
suspiciously. Among a score or two 'of such correspdts, one perhaps betrays 
me. I feel it mortifyingly, but conclude I had better incur one treachery than 
offend a score or two of good people. I sometimes expressly desire that my 
letters may not be publd, but this is so like requesting a man not to steal or 
cheat that I am ashamed of it after I have done it. 

Our govmt is now taking so steady a course as to shew by what road it will 

pass to destruction, to wit, by consolidn first, & then corruption, it's neces- 
VOL. x. 13 

194 THE WRITINGS OF [1821 


MONTICELLO, Sep. 16. 21. 

DEAR SIR, I have no doubt you have occasionally been led to 
reflect on the character of the duty imposed by Congress on the 
importation of books. Some few years ago, when the tariff was 
before Congress, I engaged some of our members of Congress to 
endeavour to get the duty repealed and wrote on the subject to 
some other acquaintances in Congress, and pressingly to the Sec 
retary of the treasury. The effort was made by some members 
with zeal and earnestness, but it failed. The northern colleges 
are now proposing to make a combined effort for that purpose as 
you will see by the inclosed extract of a letter from Mr. Ticknor 
asking the co-operation of the Southern and Western institutions, 
& of our university particularly. Mr. Ticknor goes so ably into 
all the considerations justifying this step, that nothing need be 
added here, & especially to you ; and we have only to answer his 
questions, whether we think with them on the subject of the tax ? 
What should be the extent of the relaxation solicited? What 
mode of proceeding we think best ? And whether we will co 
operate in our visitatorial character ? I must earnestly request 
your thoughts on these questions, fearful of answering them unad 
visedly, and on my own opinions alone. 

I think that another measure, auxiliary to that of petitioning 
might be employed with great effect. That is for the several in 
stitutions, in their corporate capacities, to address letters to their 
representatives in both houses of Congress, recommending the 
proposition to their advocation. Such a recommendation would 
certainly be respected, and might excite to activity those who 

sary consequence. The engine of consolidn will be the Fedl judiciary, the two 
other branches the corrupted & corrupting instruments. I fear an explosion in 
our state legislature. I wish they may confine themselves to a strong but pacific 
temper. Protestn Virge is not at present in favr with her co-states. An opposn 
headed by her would determine all the anti-Missouri states to take the contrary 
side. She had better lie by therefore until the shoe shall pinch an Eastern 
state. Let the cry be first raised from that quarter & we may fall into it with 
effect. But I fear our Eastern associates wish for consolidn, in which they 
would be joined by the smaller states generally, but with a foot in the grave 
I have no right to meddle with these things. Ever & affectly. 

i8 2 i] THOMAS JEFFERSON. 195 

might otherwise be indifferent and inactive and in this way a great 
vote, perhaps a majority might be obtained. There is a consider 
ation going to the injustice of the tax which might be added to 
those noticed by Mr. Ticknor. Books constitute capital. A 
library book lasts as long as a house, for hundreds of years. It 
is not then an article of mere consumption but fairly of capital, 
and often in the case of professional men, setting out in life it is 
their only capital. Now there is no other form of capital which 
is first taxed 18. per cent on the gross, and the proprietor then 
left to pay the same taxes in detail with others whose capital has 
paid no tax on the gross. Nor is there a description of men less 
proper to be singled out for extra taxation. Mr. Ticknor, you 
observe, asks a prompt answer, and I must ask it from you for the 
additional reason that within about a week, I set out for Bedford 
to remain there till the approach of winter. Be so good as to 
return me also the inclosed extract and be assured of my constant 
& affectionate friendship. 


MONTICELLO, Dec. 8, '21. 

It would give me infinite pleasure, dear Madam, 
could I have afforded you the information requested 
in your favor of the 27th of Nov. respecting the sacri 
fices of property to the relief of his country made by 
the virtuous General Nelson, your father, while in 
office during the war of the revolution. I retired 
from the administration of the government in May 
1781. Until that time the paper money, altho' it had 
been gradually depreciating from an early period, yet 
served the purposes of obtaining supplies, and was 
issued, as wanted, by the legislature. Consequently 

1 From the original in the possession of Dr. Thomas Addis_Emmet of New 

196 THE WRITINGS OF [1821 

until that period there had been no occasion for ad 
vances of money in aid of the public, by any private 
individual. I was succeeded as governor by Genl. 
Nelson. Within his period the credit of the money 
went rapidly down to nothing, and ceased to be offered 
or received, At this time came on the Northern & 
French armies, and to enable these to keep the field 
during the siege of York was probably the occasion 
which led the General to take on himself responsibili 
ties for which the public credit might not perhaps 
be sufficient. I was entirely withdrawn from public 
affairs, being confined at home, first for many months 
by a severe domestic loss, until I was sent to Con 
gress and thence to Europe, from whence I did not 
return until some time after the death of the worthy 
General. I then first heard mention of his losses by 
responsibilities for the public : and knowing his zeal, 
liberality & patriotism, I readily credited what I heard, 
altho' I knew nothing of the particulars or of their 

It would have been a matter of great satisfaction 
to me, could I by any knowlege of facts have contrib 
uted to obtain a just remuneration and relief for his 
family, and particularly for Mrs. Nelson, whose singu 
lar worth and goodness I have intimately known now 
more than half a century and whose name revives in 
my mind the affectionate recollections of my youth. 
With my regrets at this unprofitable appeal, be so 
kind as to tender her assurances of my continued and 
devoted respect, and to accept yourself those of my 
highest esteem and regard. 



MONTICELLO, Dec. 8. 21. 

DEAR SIR, In the antient Feudal times of our 
good old forefathers when the Seigneur married his 
daughter, or knighted his son, it was the usage for 
his vassals to give him a year's rent extra in the 
name of an Aid. I think it as reasonable when our 
Pastor builds a house, that each of his flock should 
give him an Aid of a year's contribution. I inclose 
mine as a tribute of Justice, which of itself indeed is 
nothing, but as an example, if followed, may become 
something. In any event be pleased to accept it as 
an offering of duty, & a testimony of my friendly at 
tachment and high respect. 


MONTICELLO, Dec. 26. 21. 

DEAR SIR, I learn with real regret from your favor of the 
loth the several circumstances which have deprived me of the 
pleasure of seeing, either here or at Poplar Forest, a relation 
whom I have long been taught to esteem, altho I have not the 
advantage of his personal acquaintance. I must find my conso 
lation in the French adage that 'tout ce qui est differe n'est pas 
perdu,' assuring you that no visit will be received with more wel 
come. My hope too of a reiteration of effort is strengthened by 
the presumed additional excitement of curiosity to see our Uni 
versity ; this now draws to it numerous visitors from every part 
of the state & from strangers passing thro it. I can assure you 
there is no building in the US. so worthy of being seen, and 
which gives an idea so adequate of what is to be seen beyond 

1 From the original in the possession of Mr. F. G. Burnham of Morristown, 
New Jersey. 

198 THE WRITINGS OF [1821 

the Atlantic. There, to be sure they have immensely larger and 
more costly masses, but nothing handsomer or in chaster style. 

The balance which you mention as coming to me from Ron 
ald's executors be so good as to have paid into the hands of 
Colo. Bernard Peyton my correspondent in Richmond. 

I find you are to be harassed again with a bankrupt law. 
Could you not compromise between agriculture and commerce 
by passing such a law which like the bye laws of incorporate 
towns, should be binding on the inhabitants of such towns only, 
being the residence of commerce, leaving the agriculturists, in 
habitants of the country, in undisturbed possession of the rights 
& modes of proceedings to which their habits, their interests and 
their partialities attach them ? This would be as uniform as 
other laws of local obligation. 

But you will have a more difficult task in curbing the Judi 
ciary in their enterprises on the constitution. I doubt whether 
the erection of the Senate into an appellate court on Constitu 
tional questions would be deemed an unexceptionable reliance ; 
because it would enable the judiciary, with the representatives 
in Senate of one third only of our citizens, and that in a single 
house, to make by construction what they should please of the con 
stitution, and thus bind in a double knot the other two thirds, for 
I believe that one third of our citizens chuse a majority of the 
Senate, and these too of the smaller states whose interests lead 
to lessen state influence, & strengthen that of the general gov 
ernment. A better remedy I think, and indeed the best I can 
devise would be to give future commissions to judges for six 
years (the Senatorial term) with a re-appointmentability by the 
president with the approbation of both houses. That of the H. 
of Repr. imports a majority of citizens, that of the Senate a ma 
jority of states and that of both a majority of the three sovereign 
departments of the existing government, to wit, of it's Execu 
tive & legislative branches. If this would not be independance 
enough, I know not what would be such, short of the total irre 
sponsibility under which we are acting and sinning now. The 
independance of the judges in England on the King alone is 
good ; but even there they are not independant on the Parlia 
ment ; being removable on the joint address of both houses, by 


a vote of a majority of each, but we require a majority of one 
house and 2/3 of the other, a concurrence which, in practice, 
has been and ever will be found impossible ; for the judiciary 
perversions of the constitution will forever be protected under 
the pretext of errors of judgment, which by principle are ex 
empt from punishment. Impeachment therefore is a bugbear 
which they fear not at all. But they would be under some awe of 
the canvas of their conduct which would be open to both houses 
regularly every 6th year. It is a misnomer to call a government 
republican, in which a branch of the supreme power is inde- 
pendant of the nation. By this change of tenure a remedy 
would be held up to the states, which altho' very distant, would 
probably keep them quiet. In aid of this a more immediate effect 
would be produced by a joint protestation of both Houses of 
Congress, that the doctrines of the judges in the case of Cohens, 
adjudging a state amenable to their tribunal, and that Congress 
can authorize a corporation of the district of Columbia to pass 
any act which shall have the force of law within a state, are con 
trary to the provisions of the Constitution of the US. This 
would be effectual ; as with such an avowal of Congress, no 
state would permit such a sentence to be carried into execution, 
within it's limits. If, by the distribution of the sovereign pow 
ers among three branches, they were intended to be checks on 
one another, the present case calls loudly for the exercise of that 
duty, and such a counter declaration, while proper in form, 
would be most salutary as a precedent. 

Another most condemnable practice of the supreme court to be 
corrected is that of cooking up a decision in Caucus & delivering 
it by one of their members as the opinion of the court, without 
the possibility of our knowing how many, who, and for what rea 
sons each member concurred. This compleatly defeats the possi 
bility of impeachment by smothering evidence. A regard for 
character in each being now the only hold we can have of them, 
we should hold fast to it. They would, were they to give their 
opinions seriatim and publicly, endeavor to justify themselves to 
the world by explaining the reasons which led to their opinion. 
While Edmd Randolph was attorney general, he was charged on 
a particular occasion by the H. of R. to prepare a digest and 

200 THE WRITINGS OF [1821 

some amendments to the judiciary law. One of the amendments 
he proposed was that every judge should give his individual opin 
ion, and reasons in open court, which opinions and reasons should 
be recorded in a separate book to be published occasionally in 
the nature of Reports. Other business prevented Congress from 
acting then on the bill. Such a provision would produce valua 
ble effect and emulation in forming an opinion and correctly 
reasoning on it ; and would give us Reports, unswelled by the 
arguments of counsel and within the compass of our reading and 
book shelves. But these things belong to the present generation, 
who are to live under them. The machine, as it is, will, I believe, 
last my time, and those coming after will know how to repair it to 
their own minds. I cannot help sometimes yielding to senile 
garrulity on matters not belonging to me, yet I pray not to be 
quoted, but pardoned for this weakness of age. With my prayers 
that our constitution may ' perpetuum durare per aevum ' accept 
the assurances of my affectionate esteem and respect. 


MONTICELLO, Dec. 31. 21. 

DEAR SIR, The inclosed paper was handed to me by our dear 
Martha with a request that I would consider it, and say to you 
what I think of it. General Taylor has certainly stated the ob 
jections to Mr. Hackley's claim so fairly, fully and powerfully, 
that I need not repeat them, observing only that in mentioning 
the notice which Erving had of the negociation with Alagon, he 
does not mention Mr. Hackley's notice, who on the 2pth of May 
1819 took a conveyance from Alagon with a full knolege that 3. 
months before, the US. had by treaty become proprietors of the 
whole province, and with an express annulment of the very title 
he was purchasing. This is more than a set off against the im 
plied notice of our government thro Erving. However the cir 
cumstance of notice, duly examined, has little weight in the case. 
The effect of the ratification is the true point, & that on which 
Genl. Taylor very properly rests it, and on which it will turn. On 
that two questions will arise. 


1. Did the ratification by the Cortes extend to the 2d & 3d 
articles only and not to the 8th and it's subsequent explanations 
of the extent of these articles ? If we are to decide this question 
for ourselves (doubting the judgment of our government) we 
should have the act of the Cortes before us, to examine criti 
cally it 's precise terms. But that I presume we have not ; as 
Genl. Taylor seems to take his information of it from the recital 
in the preamble of the Spanish ratification, that ' the consent 
and authority of the general Cortes with respect to the occasion 
mentioned and stipulated in the 2d and 3d articles, had been first 
obtained.' May not this mean that they had consented to all the 
articles which respect the cession mentioned in the 2d and 3d ? 
Is it a necessary inference from this that the Cortes had not con 
sented to any other article, and especially the 8th and it 's ex 
planations which respect the cession mentioned in the 2d and 3d, 
and their extent ? Which is most probable, that the Cortes re 
fused their assent to that article ? or that the King omitted to 
communicate it to them ? or that, altho' the fact of consent might 
be material, it 's mention in the recital being unnecessary & super 
fluous, might be neither fully nor critically made ? Again, when 
we consider that our government (informed that grants had been 
made to Alagon, Punon Rostro & de Vargas, subsequent in truth 
to Jan. 24. 1 8. but antedated fraudulently to bring them within 
the treaty, which grants covered nearly the whole country, from 
the boundary of the US. to the sea) made their nullification a 
sine que non of the treaty, that they pertinaciously continued to 
refuse concluding it until their nullification was agreed to, can we 
believe they did conclude without knowing that the ratification 
of this article was as formal and firm as that of the articles it re 
spected and explained ? Did they mean to deceive their country 
and palm upon us a fallacious instrument ? or were they deceived 
themselves, that is to say, the President, all the heads of depart 
ments, the Atty General, and the whole Senate, as having less 
knolege than we have of what was a valid ratification ? I confess 
that these considerations have weight with me when opposed to 
the opinion of Genl. Taylor as to the validity of the ratification. 

2. But a second question may be made, whether the ratifica 
tion of the Cortes was necessary ? Whether the constitution pro- 

202 THE WRITINGS OF [1821 

posed by them for the colonies had authority in them until 
accepted in each colony respectively ? The inhabitants of the 
colonies themselves, our government and our nation, certainly 
deny that it could, on principle, be in force in any colony without 
it's consent ; and at the date of the ratification, not a single colony 
had accepted, nor do I know that a single one has done it to this 
day. I think myself certain that the Floridas have not. The old 
government continued in them to the day of their surrender ; and 
under the old government, a cession of territory and ratification 
by the king was conclusive. Of this the cession of the same 
countries by the king to England, that of a degree of latitude of 
them to the US. and that of Louisiana to France are sufficient 

It is with real reluctance that I feel or express any doubts ad 
verse to the interests of Mr. Hackley. I do it to yourself only, 
and with a wish not to be quoted, as well to avoid injury to him, 
as the implication of myself in anything controversial. I am far 
from having strong confidence in doubts of what two such able 
jurists have decided ; yet for Mr. Hackley's sake I anxiously wish 
that he should not be so far over-confident in the certainty of these 
opinions as to enter into any warranties of title in the portions he 
may dispose of. These vast grants of land are entirely against the 
policy of our government. They have ever set their faces most 
decidedly against such monopolies. In all their sales of land they 
have taken every measure they could devise to prevent specula 
tions in them by purchases to sell again, & to provide that sales 
should be made to settlers alone. On this ground Mr. Hackley 
will have to contend against prejudices deeply rooted. These 
might perhaps be somewhat softened if, instead of taking adverse 
possession, which the President is bound to remove summarily 
by the military, he were to make to Congress a full and candid 
statement of the considerations he has paid, or the sacrifices 
made, of which these lands are the compensation. They might 
in that case make him such a grant as would amount to a liberal 

I shall ever studiously avoid expressing to any person any 
doubt which might injure Mr. Hackley's prospects from this 
source, and sincerely wish him the most can be made of them. 

1 8 22 ] THOMAS JEFFERSON. 203 

I renew to yourself affectionate assurances of attachment and 


MONTO. Jan. 7. 22. 

DR. SIR, I see with much concern in your paper of the 3d that 
they are endeavoring to compromit me on the subject of the next 
President. The informn said to come from a gent, from Columbia 
is totally unfounded, & you will observe that the Augusta Chron 
icle which cited me as giving an acct. of the same Caucus says not 
a word of any letter from me. For all of the gentlemen named as 
subjects of the future election I have the highest esteem and 
should much regret that they should suppose me to take any part 
in it. I entirely and decidedly withdraw myself from all inter 
meddling in matters of this nature. You will oblige me by in 
serting in your paper some such contribution as below 1 in a form 
not importing to come directly from myself. It is the more neces 
sary as you seem to have given credit to it. I salute you with 
frdshp & resp. 


MONTICELLO, March 6, 1822. 

SIR, I have duly received your letter of February the i6th, 
and have now to express my sense of the honorable station pro 
posed to my ex-brethren and myself, in the constitution of the 
society for the civilization and improvement of the Indian tribes. 
The object too, expressed as that of the association, is one which 
I have ever had much at heart, and never omitted an occasion 

1 " In our paper of the 3d, under the head of the ' next President ' we quoted 
from the Petersbg Intelligencer the information of a Gentleman from Columbia 
S. C. mentioning that in a Caucus of members assembled there for the nomin 
of a President a letter was read from Mr. Jefferson pointing to this object. We 
are authorized by a friend of Mr. J's much in his society & intimacy to declare 
that that Gent, never wrote such a letter, never put pen to paper on that sub 
ject, and studiously avoids all conversn on it." 

204 THE WRITINGS OF [1822 

of promoting while I have been in situations to do it with effect, 
and nothing, even now, in the calm of age and retirement, would 
excite in me a more lively interest than an approvable plan of 
raising that respectable and unfortunate people from the state of 
physical and moral abjection, to which they have been reduced 
by circumstances foreign to them. That the plan now proposed 
is entitled to unmixed approbation, I am not prepared to say, after 
mature consideration, and with all the partialities which its pro 
fessed object would rightfully claim from me. 

I shall not undertake to draw the line of demarcation between 
private associations of laudable views and unimposing numbers, 
and those whose magnitude may rivalize and jeopardize the 
march of regular government. Yet such a line does exist. I 
have seen the days, they were those which preceded the revolu 
tion, when even this last and perilous engine became necessary ; 
but they were days which no man would wish to see a second 
time. That was the case where the regular authorities of the 
government had combined against the rights of the people, and 
no means of correction remained to them but to organize a col 
lateral power, which, with their support, might rescue and secure 
their violated rights. But such is not the case with our govern 
ment. We need hazard no collateral power, which, by a change 
of its original views, and assumption of others we know not how 
virtuous or how mischievous, would be ready organized and in 
force sufficient to shake the established foundations of society, 
and endanger its peace and the principles on which it is based. 
Is not the machine now proposed of this gigantic stature ? It is 
to consist of the ex-Presidents of the United States, the Vice 
President, the Heads of all the executive departments, the mem 
bers of the supreme judiciary, the Governors of the several States 
and territories, all the members of both Houses of Congress, all 
the general officers of the army, the commissioners of the navy, 
all Presidents and Professors of colleges and theological semi 
naries, all the clergy of the United States, the Presidents and 
Secretaries of all associations having relation to Indians, all com 
manding officers within or near Indian territories, all Indian 
superintendents and agents; all these ex officio ; and as many 
private individuals as will pay a certain price for membership. 


Observe, too, that the clergy will constitute ' nineteen twentieths 
of this association, and, by the law of the majority, may command 
the twentieth part, which, composed of all the high authorities of 
the United States, civil and military, may be outvoted and wielded 
by the nineteen parts with uncontrollable power, both as to pur 
pose and process. Can this formidable array be reviewed with 
out dismay ? It will be said, that in this association will be all 
the confidential officers of the government ; the choice of the 
people themselves. No man on earth has more implicit confi 
dence than myself in the integrity and discretion of this chosen 
band of servants. But is confidence or discretion, or is strict 
limit, the principle of our constitution ? It will comprehend, in 
deed, all the functionaries of the government ; but seceded from 
their constitutional stations as guardians of the nation, and acting 
not by the laws of their station, but by those of a voluntary soci 
ety, having no limit to their purposes but the same will which 
constitutes their existence. It will be the authorities of the peo 
ple and all influential characters from among them, arrayed on 
one side, and on the other the people themselves deserted by 
their leaders. It is a fearful array. It will be said that these are 
imaginary fears. I know they are so at present. I know it is as 
impossible for these agents of our choice and unbounded confi 
dence, to harbor machinations against the adored principles of 
our constitution, as for gravity to change its direction, and gravid 
bodies to mount upwards. The fears are indeed imaginary, but 
the example is real. Under its authority, as a precedent, future 
associations will arise with objects at which we should shudder 
at this time. The society of Jacobins, in another country, was 
instituted on principles and views as virtuous as ever kindled the 
hearts of patriots. It was the pure patriotism of their purposes 
which extended their association to the limits of the nation, and 
rendered their power within it boundless ; and it was this power 
which degenerated their principles and practices to such enor 
mities as never before could have been imagined. Yet these 

1 The clergy of the United States may probably be estimated at eight thou 
sand. The residue of this society at four hundred ; but if the former number 
be halved, the reasoning will be the same. T. J. 

206 THE WRITINGS OF [1822 

were men, and we and our descendants will be no more. The 
present is a case where, if ever, we are to guard against ourselves; 
not against ourselves as we are, but as we may be ; for who can 
now imagine what we may become under circumstances not now 
imaginable ? The object of this institution, seems to require so 
hazardous an example as little as any which could be proposed. 
The government is, at this time, going on with the process of 
civilizing the Indians, on a plan probably as promising as any 
one of us is able to devise, and with resources more competent 
than we could expect to command by voluntary taxation. Is it 
that the new characters called into association with those of the 
government, are wiser than these ? Is it that a plan originated 
by a meeting of private individuals is better than that prepared 
by the concentrated wisdom of the nation, of men not self-chosen, 
but clothed with the full confidence of the people ? Is it that 
there is no danger that a new authority, marching, independently, 
along side of the government, in the same line and to the same 
object, may not produce collision, may not thwart and obstruct 
the operations of the government, or wrest the object entirely 
from their hands ? Might we not as well appoint a committee 
for each department of the government, to counsel and direct its 
head separately, as volunteer ourselves to counsel and direct the 
whole, in mass ? And might we not do it as well for their foreign, 
their fiscal, and their military, as for their Indian affairs ? And 
how many societies, auxiliary to the government, may we expect 
to see spring up, in imitation of this, offering to associate them 
selves in this and that of its functions ? In a word, why not take 
the government out of its constitutional hands, associate them 
indeed with us, to preserve a semblance that the acts are theirs, 
but insuring them to be our own by allowing them a minor vote 
only ? 

These considerations have impressed my mind with a force so 
irresistible, that (in duty bound to answer your polite letter, with 
out which I should not have obtruded an opinion) I have not been 
able to withhold the expression of them. Not knowing the indi 
viduals who have proposed this plan, I cannot be conceived as 
entertaining personal disrespect for them. On the contrary, I see 
in the printed list persons for whom I cherish sentiments of sin- 


cere friendship, and others, for whose opinions and purity of pur 
pose I have the highest respect. Yet thinking as I do, that this 
association is unnecessary ; that the government is proceeding to 
the same object under control of the law ; that they are compe 
tent to it in wisdom, in means, and inclination ; that this associa 
tion, this wheel within a wheel, is more likely to produce collision 
than aid ; and that it is, in its magnitude, of dangerous example ; 
I am bound to say, that, as a dutiful citizen, I cannot in conscience 
become a member of this society, possessing as it does my entire 
confidence in the integrity of its views. I feel with awe the 
weight of opinion to which I may be opposed, and that, for my 
self, I have need to ask the indulgence of a belief that the opinion 
I have given is the best result I can deduce from my own reason 
and experience, and that it is sincerely conscientious. Repeating, 
therefore, my just acknowledgments for the honor proposed to 
me, I beg leave to add the assurances to the society and yourself 
of my highest confidence and consideration. 1 

1 Jefferson, before writing this, had written to Madison : 

MONTICELLO, Feb. 25, 22. 

DEAR SIR, I have no doubt you have received, as I have done, a letter from 
Dr. Morse with a printed pamphlet, proposing to us a place in a self-constituted 
society for the civilisation of the Indian &c. I am anxious to know your 
thoughts on the subject because they would affect my confidence in my own. 
I disapprove the proposition altogether. I acknolege the right of voluntary as 
sociations for laudable purposes and in moderate numbers. I acknolege too the 
expediency, for revolutionary purposes, of general associations, coextensive with 
the nation. But where, as in our case, no abuses call for revolution, voluntary 
associations so extensive as to grapple with & controul the government, should 
such be or become their purpose, are dangerous machines, and should be frowned 
down in every regulated government. Here is one proposed to comprehend all 
the functionaries of the government executive, legislative & Judiciary, all officers 
of the army or navy, governors of the states, learned institutions, the whole 
body of the clergy who will be 19/20 of the whole association, and as many other 
individuals as can be enlisted for 5. D. apiece. For what object? One which 
the government is pursuing with superior means, superior wisdom, and under 
limits of legal prescription. And by whom ? A half dozen or dozen private 
individuals, of whom we know neither the number nor names, except of Elias 
B. Caldwell their foreman, Jedediah Morse of Ocean memory their present Sec 
retary & in petto their future agent, &c. These clubbists of Washington, who 
from their residence there will be the real society, have undertaken to embody 
even the government itself into an instrument to be wielded by themselves and 

2o8 THE WRITINGS OF [1822 


MONTICELLO, May 13, 1822. 

MESSRS. RITCHIE AND GOOCH, I am thankful to you for the 
paper you have been so kind as to send me, containing the ar 
raignment of the Presidents of the United States generally, as 
peculators or accessories to peculation, by an informer who 
masks himself under the signature of "a Native Virginian." 

for purposes directed by themselves. Observe that they omit the President's 
name, and for reasons too flimsy to be the true ones. No doubt they have pro 
posed it to him, and his prudence has refused his name. And shall we suffer 
ourselves to be constituted into tools by such an authority ? Who, after this 
example, may not impress us into their purposes ? Feeling that the association 
is unnecessary, presumptuous & of dangerous example, my present impression is 
to decline membership, to give my reasons for it, in terms of respect, but with 
frankness, but as the answer is not pressing, I suspend it until I can hear from 
you in the hope you will exchange thoughts with me, that I may shape my an 
swer as much in conformity with yours as coincidence in our views of the subject 
may admit : and I will pray to hear from you by the first mail. Ever & affec 
tionately yours. 

He also wrote to Monroe : 

MONTICELLO, Mar. 19. 22. 

DEAR SIR, Your favor of Mar. 14. has been duly received. In that you ask 
if my letter to Mr. Morse may be communicated to the gentlemen of the admin 
istration and other friends. In the first place the former are entitled to it's 
communication from Mr. Morse as named members of his society. But inde- 
pendantly of that, a letter addressed to a society of 6. or 8000 people is de facto 
made public. I had supposed it possible indeed that the society or some of it's 
members might perhaps publish it as the only practicable means of communicat 
ing it to so extensive an association. This would be best, because Mr. Morse 
might otherwise consider it as done by myself, and that it was a gauntlet thrown 
down to challenge him into the Arena of the public papers ; and should he take 
it up, I should certainly prove a recreant knight, and never meet him in that 
field. But do in this whatever you please. I abandon the letter to any good it 
may answer. With respect to Spanish America I think you have taken the exact 
point of time for recognizing it's independance, neither sooner nor later. I give 
whatever credit they merit to those who are glorifying themselves on their pre 
mature advice to have done it 3. or 4. years ago. We have preserved the appro 
bation of nations, and yet taken the station we were entitled to of being the first 
to receive & welcome them as brothers into the family of nations. Affectionate 
& respectful salutations. 

1 82 2] THOMAS JEFFERSON. 209 

What relates to myself in this paper, (being his No. VI., and the 
only No. I have seen,) I had before read in the " Federal Repub 
lican " of Baltimore, of August 28th, which was sent to me by a 
friend, with the real name of the author. It was published there 
during the ferment of a warmly-contested election. I considered 
it, therefore, as an electioneering manoeuvre merely, and did not 
even think it required the trouble of recollecting, after a lapse 
of thirty-three years, the circumstances of the case in which he 
charges me with having purloined from the treasury of the United 
States the sum of $1,148. But as he has thought it worth repeat 
ing in his Roll of informations against your Presidents nominally, 
I shall give the truths of the case, which he has omitted, perhaps 
because he did not know them, and ventured too inconsiderately 
to supply them from his own conjectures. 

On the return from my mission to France, and joining the 
government here, in the spring of 1790, I had a long and heavy 
account to settle with the United States, of the administration of 
their pecuniary affairs in Europe, of which the superintendence 
had been confided to me while there. I gave in my account early, 
but the pressure of other business did not permit the accounting 
officers to attend to it till October xoth, 1792, when we settled, 
and a balance of $888 67 appearing to be due from me, (but erro 
neously as will be shown,) I paid the money the same day, deliv 
ered up my vouchers, and received a certificate of it. But still 
the articles of my draughts on the bankers could be only provision 
ally past ; until their accounts also should be received to be con 
fronted with mine. And it was not till the 24th of June, 1804, 
that I received a letter from Mr. Richard Harrison the auditor, 
informing me " that my accounts, as Minister to France, had been 
adjusted and closed," adding, " the bill drawn and credited by you 
under date of the 2ist of October, 1789, for banco florins 2,800, 
having never yet appeared in any account of the Dutch bankers, 
stand at your debit only as a provisional charge. If it should 
hereafter turn out, as I incline to think it will, that this bill has 
never been negotiated or used by Mr. Grand, you will have a just 
claim on the public for its value." This was the first intimation 
to me that I had too hastily charged myself with that draught. I 
determined, however, as I had allowed it in my account, and paid 

VOL. X. 14 

210 THE WRITINGS OF [1822 

up the balance it had produced against me, to let it remain awhile, 
as there was a possibility that the draught might still be presented 
by the holder to the bankers ; and so it remained till I was near 
leaving Washington, on my final retirement from the administra 
tion in 1809. I then received from the auditor, Mr. Harrison, 
the following note : " Mr. Jefferson, in his accounts as late Minis 
ter to France, credited among other sums, a bill drawn by him 
on the 2ist October, 1789, to the order of Grand & Co., on the 
bankers of the United States at Amsterdam, f. Banco f. 2,800, 
equal with agio to current florins 2,870, and which was charged to 
him provisionally in the official statement made at the Treasury, in 
the month of October, 1804. But as this bill has not yet been 
noticed in any account rendered by the bankers, the presumption 
is strong that it was never negotiated or presented for payment, 
and Mr. Jefferson, therefore, appears justly entitled to receive the 
value of it, which, at forty cents the gilder, (the rate at which it 
was estimated in the above-mentioned statement,) amounts to 
$1,148. Auditor's office, January 24th, 1809." 

Desirous of leaving nothing unsettled behind me, I drew the 
money from the treasury, but without any interest, although I had 
let it lie there twenty years, and had actually on that error paid 
$888 67, an apparent balance against me, when the true balance 
was in my favor $259 33. The question then is, how has this 
happened ? I have examined minutely, and can state it clearly. 

Turning to my pocket diary I find that on the 2ist day of Oc 
tober, 1789, the date of this bill, I was at Cowes in England, on 
my return to the United States. The entry in my diary is in 
these words : " 1789, October 2ist. Sent to Grand & Co., letter 
of credit on Willinks, Van Staphorsts and Hubbard, for 2,800 
florins Banco." And I immediately credited it in my account 
with the United States in the following words : " 1789, October 
21. By my bill on Willinks, Van Staphorsts and Hubbard, in 
favor of Grand & Co., for 2,800 florins, equal to 6,230 livres 18 
sous." My account having been kept in livres and sous of France, 
the auditor settled this sum at the current exchange, making it 
$1,148. This bill, drawn at Cowes in England, had to pass 
through London to Paris by the English and French mails, in 
which passage it was lost, by some unknown accident, to which 

1 82 2] THOMAS JEFFERSON. 211 

it was the more exposed in the French mail, by the confusion 
then prevailing ; for it was exactly at the time that martial law was 
proclaimed at Paris, the country all up in arms, and executions by 
the mobs were daily perpetrating through town and country. 
However this may have been, the bill never got to the hands of 
Grand & Co., was never, of course, forwarded by them to the 
bankers of Amsterdam, nor anything more ever heard of it. The 
auditor's first conjecture then was the true one, that it never was 
negotiated, nor therefore charged to the United States in any of 
the bankers' accounts. I have now under my eye a duplicate 
furnished me by Grand of his account of that date against the 
United States, and his private account against myself, and I affirm 
that he has not noticed this bill in either of these accounts, and 
the auditor assures us the Dutch bankers had never charged it. 
The sum of the whole then is, that I drew a bill on the United 
States bankers, charged myself with it on the presumption it 
would be paid, that it never was paid however, either by the 
bankers of the United States, or anybody else. It was surely just 
then to return me the money I had paid for it. Yet " the Native 
Virginian " thinks that this act of receiving back the money I had 
thus through error overpaid, "was a palpable and manifest act of 
moral turpitude, about which no two honest ', impartial men can possi 
bly differ." I ascribe these hard expressions to the ardor of his 
zeal for the public good, and as they contain neither argument nor 
proof, I pass them over without observation. Indeed, I have not 
been in the habit of noticing these morbid ejections of spleen 
either with or without the names of those venting them. But I 
have thought it a duty on the present occasion to relieve my fel 
low citizens and my country from the degradation in the eyes of 
the world to which this informer is endeavoring to reduce it by 
representing it as governed hitherto by a succession of swindlers 
and peculators. Nor shall I notice any further endeavors to prove 
or to palliate this palpable misinformation. I am too old and inert 
to undertake minute investigations of intricate transactions of the 
last century ; and I am not afraid to trust to the justice and good 
sense of my fellow-citizens on future, as on former attempts to 
lessen me in their esteem. 

I ask of you, gentlemen, the insertion of this letter in your pa- 

212 THE WRITINGS OF [1822 

per ; and I trust that the printers who have hazarded the publica 
tion of the libel, on anonymous authority, will think that of the 
answer a moderate retribution of the wrong to which they have 
been accessory. 1 

1 Once more Jefferson wrote to Ritchie and Gooch : 

MONTICELLO, June 10, 1822. 

MESSRS. RITCHIE AND GOOCH, In my letter to you of May isth, in answer 
to a charge by a person signing himself " A Native Virginian," that on a bill 
drawn by me for a sum equivalent to $i, 148, the treasury of the United States 
had made double payment, I supposed I had done as much as would be required 
when I showed they had only returned to me money which I had previously paid 
into the treasury on the presumption that such a bill had been paid for me, but 
that this bill being lost or destroyed on the way, had never been presented, con 
sequently never paid by the United States, and that the money was therefore 
returned to me. This being too plain for controversy, the pseudo Native of 
Virginia, in his reply, No. 32, in the Federal Republican of May 24th, reduces 
himself ultimately to the ground of a double receipt Q{ the money by me, first on 
sale or negotiation of the bill in Europe, and a second time from the treasury. 
But the bill was never sold or negotiated anywhere. It was not drawn to raise 
money in the market. I sold it to nobody, received no money on it, but en 
closed it to Grand & Co. for some purpose of account, for what particular pur 
pose neither my memory, after a lapse of thirty-three years, nor my papers 
enable me to say. Had I preserved a copy of my letter to Grand enclosing the 
bill, that would doubtless have explained the purpose. But it was drawn on the 
eve of my embarkation with my family from Cowes for America, and probably 
the hurry of preparation for that did not allow me time to take a copy. I pre 
sume this because I find no such letter among my papers. Nor does any sub 
sequent correspondence with Grand explain it, because I had no private 
account with him ; my account as minister being kept with the treasury directly, 
so that he, receiving no intimation of this bill, could never give me notice of its 
miscarriage. But, however satisfactory might have been an explanation of the 
purpose of the bill, it is unnecessary at least ; the material fact being established 
that it never got to hand, nor was ever paid by the United States. 

And how does the Native Virginian maintain his charge that I received the 
cash when I drew the bill ? by unceremoniously inserting into the entry of that 
article in my account, words of his own, making me say in direct terms that I 
did receive the cash for the bill. In my account rendered to the treasury, it is 
entered in these words : " 1789, Oct. I. By my bill on Willincks, Van Staphorsts 
& Hubbard in favor of Grand & Co. for 2,800 florins, equal to 6,230 livres 18 
sous ; " but he quotes it as stated in my account rendered to and settled at the 
treasury, and yet remaining, as it is to be presumed, among the archives of that 
department, " By cash received of Grand for bill on Willincks, &c." Now the 
words " cash received of Grand" constitute "the very point, the pivot, on 

1 8 2 2] THOMAS JEFFERSON. 213 


MONTICELLO, June i, 1822. 

It is very long, my dear Sir, since I have written 
to you. My dislocated wrist is now become so stiff 
that I write slow and with pain, and therefore write 
as little as I can. Yet it is due to mutual friendship 
to ask once in awhile how we do ? The papers tell 

which the matter turns," as himself says, and not finding, he has furnished 
them. Although the interpolation of them is sufficiently refuted by the fact 
that Grand was, at the time, in France, and myself in England, yet wishing that 
conviction of the interpolation should be founded on official document, I wrote 
to the auditor, Mr. Harrison, requesting an official certificate of the very words 
in which that article stood in my autograph account deposited in the office. I 
received yesterday his answer of the 3d, in which he says, " I am unable to fur 
nish the extract you require, as the original account rendered by you of your 
pecuniary transactions of a public nature in Europe, together with the vouchers 
and documents connected with it, were all destroyed in the Register's office in 
the memorable conflagration of 1814. With respect, therefore, to the sum of 
$1,148 in question, I can only say that, after full and repeated examinations, I 
considered you as most righteously and justly entitled to receive it. Otherwise, 
it will, I trust, be believed that I could not have consented to the re-payment." 
Considering the intimacy which the Native Virginian shows with the treasury 
affairs, we might be justified in suspecting that he knew this fact of the de 
struction of the original by fire when he ventured to misquote. But certainly 
we may call on him to say, and to show, from what original he copied these 
words : " cash received from Grand " ? I say, most assuredly, from none, for 
none such ever existed. Although the original be lost, which would have con 
victed him officially, it 'happens that when I made from my rough draft a fair 
copy of my account for the treasury, I took also, with a copying-machine, a 
press-copy of every page, which I kept for my own use. It is known that 
copies by this well-known machine are taken by impression on damp paper laid 
on the face of the written page while fresh, and passed between rollers as cop 
per plates are. They must therefore be true fac similies. This press-copy now 
lies before me, has been shown to several persons, and will be shown to as many 
as wish or are willing to examine it ; and this article of my account is entered 
in it in these words : " 1789, Oct. i. By my bill on Willincks, Van Staphorsts 
& Hubbard for 2,800 florins, equal to 6,230-livres 18 sous." An inspection of 
the account, too, shows that whenever I received cash for a bill, it is uniformly 
entered " by cash received of such an one, &c. ; " but where a bill was drawn 
to constitute an item of account only, the entry is " by my bill on, &c." Now 
to these very words " cash received of Grand," not in my original but interpo- 

214 THE WRITINGS OF [1822 

us that General Starke is off at the age of 93. Charles 
Thomson still lives at about the same age, cheerful, 
slender as a grasshopper, and so much without mem 
ory that he scarcely recognizes the members of his 
household. An intimate friend of his called on him 
not long since ; it was difficult to make him recollect 

lated by himself, he constantly appeals as~proofs of an acknowledgment under 
my own handth&t I received the cash. In proof of this, I must request patience 
to read the following quotations from his denunciations as standing in the Fed 
eral Republican of May 24 : 

Page 2, column 2, 1. 48 to 29 from the bottom, " he [Mr. J.] admits in his 
account rendered in 1790 and settled in 1792, that he had received the ' cash' 
[placing the word cash between inverted commas to have it marked particularly 
as a quotation] that he had received the ' cash ' for the bill in question, and he 
does not directly deny it now. Will he, can he, in the face of his own declara 
tion in writing to the contrary, publicly say that he did not receive the money 
for this bill in Europe ? This is the point on which the whole matter rests, the 
pivot on which the arguments turn. If he did receive the money in Europe, 
(no matter whether at Cowes or at Paris,) he certainly had no right to receive it 
a second time from the public treasury of the United States. This is admitted 
I believe on all sides. Now, that he did receive the money in Europe on this 
bill, is proved by the acknowledgment of the receiver himself, who credits the 
amount in his account as settled at the treasury thus : ' cash received of Grand 
for bill on Willincks, Van Staphorsts, 2,876 gilders, 1,148 dollars.'" 

Col. 3, 1. 28 to 21 from bottom. " There is a plain difference in the phrase 
ology of the account, from which an extract is given by Mr. J. as above, and 
that which he rendered to the Treasury. In the former he gives the credit thus, 
4 By my bills on Willincks,' &c. In the latter he states, ' By cash received of 
Grand for bill on Willincks,' &c." There is a difference, indeed, as he states 
it, but it is made solely by his own interpolation. 

Col. 3, 1. 8, from bottom. " That Mr. Jefferson should; in the very teeth of 
the facts of the evidence before us, and in his own breast, gravely say that he 
had paid the money for this bill, and that therefore it was but just to return him 
the amount of it, when he had, by his own acknowledgment, sent it to Grand & 
Co., and received the money for it, is, I confess, not only matter of utter aston 
ishment but regret." I spare myself the qualifications which these paragraphs 
may merit, leaving them to be applied by every reader according to the feelings 
they may excite in his own breast. 

He proceeds : " And now to place this case beyond the reach of cavil or 
doubt, and to show most conclusively that he had negotiated this bill in Europe, 
and received the cash for it there, and that such was the understanding of the 
matter at the treasury in 1809, when he received the money." These are his 


who he was, and, sitting one hour, he told him the 
same story four times over. Is this life ? 

" With lab'ring step 

To tread our former footsteps ? pace the round 
Eternal ? to beat and beat 
The beaten track ? to see what we have seen, 
To taste the tasted ? o'er our palates to decant 
Another vintage ? " 

It is at most but the life of a cabbage ; surely not 

own words. Col. 4, he brings forward the overwhelming fact " not hitherto 
made public but stated from the most creditable and authentic source, that one 
of the accounting officers of the treasury suggested in writing the propriety of 
taking bond and security from Mr. J., for indemnification of the United States 
against any future claim on this bill. But it seems the bond was not taken, and 
the government is now liable in law, and in good faith for the payment of this 
bill to the rightful owner." How this suggestion of taking bond at the treasury, 
so solemnly paraded, is more conclusive proof than his own interpolation, that 
the cash -was received, I am so dull as not to perceive ; but I say, that had the 
suggestion been made to me, it would have been instantly complied with. But 
I deny his law. Were the bill now to be presented to the treasury, the answer 
would and should be the same as a merchant would give : " You have held up 
this bill three and thirty years without notice ; we have settled in the meantime 
with the drawer, and have no effects of his left in our hands. Apply to him for 
payment." On his application to me, I should first inquire into the history of 
the bill ; where it had been lurking for three and thirty years ? how came he by 
it? by interception ? by trover? by assignment from Grand? by purchase? from 
whom, when and where ? And according to his answers I should either institute 
criminal process against him, or if he showed that all was fair and honest, I 
should pay him the money, and look for reimbursement to the quarter appearing 
liable. The law deems seven years' absence of a man, without being heard of, 
such presumptive evidence of his death, as to distribute his estate, and to allow 
his wife to marry again. The Auditor thought that twenty years non-appear 
ance of a bill which had been risked through the post-offices of two nations, was 
sufficient presumption of its loss. But this self-styled native of Virginia thinks 
that the thirty-three years now elapsed are not sufficient. Be it so. If the 
accounting officers of the treasury have any uneasiness on that subject, I am 
ready to give a bond of indemnification to the United States in any sum the 
officers will name, and with the security which themselves shall approve. Will 
this satisfy the native Virginian ? or will he now try to pick some other hole in 
this transaction, to shield himself from a candid acknowledgment, that in making 
up his case, he supplied by gratuitous conjectures, the facts which were not 

216 THE WRITINGS OF [1822 

worth a wish. When all our faculties have left, or 
are leaving us, one by one, sight, hearing, memory, 
every avenue of pleasing sensation is closed, and 
athumy, debility and malaise left in their places, when 
friends of our youth are all gone, and a generation is 
risen around us whom we know not, is death an evil ? 

When one by one our ties are torn, 

And friend from friend is snatched forlorn. 

When man is left alone to mourn, , 

Oh ! then how sweet it is to die ! 
When trembling limbs refuse their weight, 
And films slow gathering dim the sight, 
When clouds obscure the mental light 

'T is nature's kindest boon to die ! 

I really think so. I have ever dreaded a doting old 
age ; and my health has been generally so good, and 
is now so good, that I dread it still. The rapid decline 
of my strength during the last winter has made me 
hope sometimes that I see land. During summer I 
enjoy its temperature, but I shudder at the approach 
of winter, and wish I could sleep through it with the 
Dormouse, and only wake with him in spring, if ever. 
They say that Starke could walk about his room. I 
am told you walk well and firmly. I can only reach 
my garden, and that with sensible fatigue. I ride, 
however, daily. But reading is my delight. I should 

within his knowledge, and that thus he has sinned against truth in his declara 
tions before the public ? Be this as it may, I have so much confidence in the 
discernment and candor of my fellow-citizens, as to leave to their judgment, and 
dismiss from my own notice any future torture of words or circumstances which 
this writer may devise for their deception. Indeed, could such a denunciation, 
and on such proof, bereave me of that confidence and consolation, I should, 
through the remainder of life, brood over the afflicting belief that I had lived 
and labored in vain. 


wish never to put pen to paper ; and the more because 
of the treacherous practice some people have of pub 
lishing one's letters without leave. Lord Mansfield 
declared it a breach of trust, and punishable at law. 
I think it should be a penitentiary felony ; yet you 
will have seen that they have drawn me out into the 
arena of the newspapers ; although I know it is too 
late for me to buckle on the armor of youth, yet my 
indignation would not permit me passively to receive 
the kick of an ass. 

To turn to the news of the day, it seems that the 
Cannibals of Europe are going to eating one another 
again. A war between Russia and Turkey is like the 
battle of the kite and snake. Whichever destroys 
the other, leaves a destroyer the less for the world. 
This pugnacious humor of mankind seems to be the 
law of his nature, one of the obstacles to too great 
multiplication provided in the mechanism of the Uni 
verse. The cocks of the henyard kill one another 
up. Bears, bulls, rams, do the same. And the horse, 
in his wild state, kills all the young males, until worn 
down with age and war, some vigorous youth kills 
him, and takes to himself the Harem of females. I 
hope we shall prove how much happier for man the 
Quaker policy is, and that the life of the feeder, is 
better than that of the fighter ; and it is some con 
solation that the desolation by these maniacs of one 
part of the earth is the means of improving it in other 
parts. Let the latter be our office, and let us milk the 
cow, while the Russian holds her by the horns, and 
the Turk by the tail. God bless you, and give you 

2i8 THE WRITINGS OF [1822 

health, strength, and good spirits, and as much of life 
eis you think worth having. 1 

1 In reply to a question from Adams, Jefferson further wrote : 

MONTICELLO, June 27, 1822. 

DEAR SIR, Your kind letter of the nth has given me great satisfaction. 
For although I could not doubt but that the hand of age was pressing heavily 
on you, as on myself, yet we like to know the particulars and the degree of that 
pressure. Much reflection, too, has been produced by your suggestion of lend 
ing my letter of the ist, to a printer. I have generally great aversion to the in 
sertion of my letters in the public papers ; because of my passion for quiet 
retirement, and never to be exhibited in scenes on the public stage. Nor am I 
unmindful of the precept of Horace, " solver e senescentem, mature sanus 
eguum, ne peccet ad extremum ridendus." In the present case, however, I see 
a possibility that this might aid in producing the very quiet after which I pant. 
I do not know how far you may suffer, as I do, under the persecution of letters, 
of which every mail brings a fresh load. They are letters of inquiry, for the 
most part, always of good will, sometimes from friends whom I esteem, but 
much oftener from persons whose names are unknown to me, but written 
kindly and civilly, and to which, therefore, civility requires answers. Perhaps, 
the better known failure of your hand in its function of writing, may shield you 
in greater degree from this distress, and so far qualify the misfortune of its dis 
ability. I happened to turn to my letter-list some time ago, and a curiosity was 
excited to count those received in a single year. It was the year before the 
last. I found the number to be one thousand two hundred and sixty-seven, 
many of them requiring answers of elaborate research, and all to be answered 
with due attention and consideration. Take an average of this number for 
a week or a day, and I will repeat the question suggested by other considerations 
in mine of the ist. Is this life? At best it is but the life of a mill-horse, who 
sees no end to his circle but in death. To such a life, that of a cabbage is para 
dise. It occurs then, that my condition of existence, truly stated in that letter, 
if better known, might check the kind indiscretions which are so heavily oppress 
ing the departing hours of life. Such a relief would, to me, be an ineffable 
blessing. But yours of the nth, equally interesting and affecting, should 
accompany that to which it is an answer. The two, taken together, would excite 
a joint interest, and place before our fellow-citizens the present condition of two 
ancient servants, who having faithfully performed their forty or fifty campaigns, 
stipendiis omnibus expletis, have a reasonable claim to repose from all disturb 
ance in the sanctuary of invalids and superannuates. But some device should 
be thought of for their getting before the public otherwise than by our own pub 
lication. Your printer, perhaps, could frame something plausible. Thom 
son's name should be left blank, as his picture, should it meet his eye, might 
give him pain. I consign, however, the whole subject to your consideration, to 
do in it whatever your own judgment shall approve, and repeat always, with 
truth, the assurance of my constant and affectionate friendship and respect. 



MONTICELLO, June 26, 1822. 

DEAR SIR, I have received and read with thankfulness and 
pleasure your denunciation of the abuses of tobacco and wine. 
Yet, however sound in its principles, I expect it will be but a ser 
mon to the wind. You will find it as difficult to inculcate these 
sanative precepts on the sensualities of the present day, as to con 
vince an Athanasian that there is but one God. I wish success to 
both attempts, and am happy to learn from you that the latter, at 
least, is making progress, and the more rapidly in proportion as 
our Platonizing Christians make more stir and noise about it. 
The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness 
of man. 

1. That there is one only God, and he all perfect. 

2. That there is a future state of rewards and punishments. 

3. That to love God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thy 
self, is the sum of religion. These are the great points on which 
he endeavored to reform the religion of the Jews. But compare 
with these the demoralizing dogmas of Calvin. 

1. That there are three Gods. 

2. That good works, or the love of our neighbor, are nothing. 

3. That faith is every thing, and the more incomprehensible the 
proposition, the more merit in its faith. 

4. That reason in religion is of unlawful use. 

5. That God, from the beginning, elected certain individuals to 
be saved, and certain others to be damned ; and that no crimes of 
the former can damn them ; no virtues of the latter save. 

Now, which of these is the true and charitable Christian ? He 
who believes and acts on the simple doctrines of Jesus ? Or the 
impious dogmatists, as Athanasius and Calvin ? Verily I say 
these are the false shepherds foretold as to enter not by the door 
into the sheepfold, but to climb up some other way. They arc 
mere usurpers of the Christian name, teaching a counter-religion 
made up of the deliria of crazy imaginations, as foreign from Chris 
tianity as is that of Mahomet. Their blasphemies have driven 
thinking men into infidelity, who have too hastily rejected the 
supposed author himself, with the horrors so falsely imputed to 

220 THE WRITINGS OF [1822 

him. Had the doctrines of Jesus been preached always as pure as 
they came from his lips, the whole civilized world would now have 
been Christian. I rejoice that in this blessed country of free in 
quiry and belief, which has surrendered its creed and conscience 
to neither kings nor priests, the genuine doctrine of one only 
God is reviving, and I trust that there is not a young man now 
living in the United States who will not die an Unitarian. 

But much I fear, that when this great truth shall be re-estab 
lished, its votaries will fall into the fatal error of fabricating for 
mulas of creed and confessions of faith, the engines which so 
soon destroyed the religion of Jesus, and made of Christendom a 
mere Aceldama ; that they will give up morals for mysteries, and 
Jesus for Plato. How much wiser are the Quakers, who, agree 
ing in the fundamental doctrines of the gospel, schismatize about 
no mysteries, and, keeping within the pale of common sense, suf 
fer no speculative differences of opinion, any more than of feature, 
to impair the love of their brethren. Be this the wisdom of Uni 
tarians, this the holy mantle which shall cover within its charitable 
circumference all who believe in one God, and who love their 
neighbor ! I conclude my sermon with sincere assurances of 
my friendly esteem and respect. 1 

1 A second letter to Doctor Waterhouse read : 

. MONTICELLO, July 19, 1822. 

DEAR SIR, An anciently dislocated, and now stiffening wrist, makes writing 
an operation so slow and painful to me, that I should not so soon have troubled 
you with an acknowledgment of your favor of the 8th, but for the request it 
contained of my consent to the publication of my letter of June the 26th. No, 
my dear Sir, not for the world. Into what a nest of hornets would it thrust my 
head ! the genus irritabile vatum, on whom argument is lost, and reason is, by 
themselves, disclaimed in matters of religion. Don Quixote undertook to re 
dress the bodily wrongs of the world, but the redressment of mental vagaries 
would be an enterprise more than Quixotic. I should as soon undertake to 
bring the crazy skulls of Bedlam to sound understanding, as inculcate reason 
into that of an Athanasian. I am old, and tranquility is now my sumrnum 
bonum. Keep me, therefore, from the fire and faggots of Calvin and his victim 
Servetus. Happy in the prospect of a restoration of primitive Christianity, I 
must leave to younger athletes to encounter and lop off the false branches which 
have been engrafted into it by the mythologists of the middle and modern ages. 
I am not aware of the peculiar resistance to Unitarianism, which you ascribe to 
Pennsylvania. When I lived in Philadelphia, there was a respectable congre- 



MONTICELLO, July 5. 22. 

MESSRS. LEROY AND BAYARD, Your favor of June 26. is just 
now received. After the delays of my last bond with which I 
have been indulged I consider it my bounden duty to obey the call 
for the principal whenever required. This delay was at first made 
convenient by the great revolution which took place in our circu 
lating medium some time past ; and the continuance of low mar 
kets since that period has not yet relieved the scarcity of medium 
so far as that fixed property can command even the half of what 
is it's value in regular times. My own annual income arises from 
the culture of tobacco and wheat. These articles, from the in 
terior country cannot be got to market till the spring of the year 
ensuing their growth, and at that season alone the cultivator can 
pay from his produce. Still if the earlier term of 6. months be 
necessary for the affairs of the heirs of Mr. Van Staphorst, it 
shall be complied with by a sale of fixed property, altho' it will 
double the debt. If on the other hand, consistently with their con- 

gation of that sect, with a meeting-house and regular service which I attended, 
and in which Dr. Priestley officiated to numerous audiences. Baltimore has 
one or two churches, and their pastor, author of an inestimable book on this 
subject, was elected chaplain to the late Congress. That doctrine has not yet 
been preached to us : but the breeze begins to be felt which precedes the 
storm ; and fanaticism is all in a bustle, shutting its doors and windows to keep 
it out. But it will come, and drive before it the foggy mists of Platonism which 
have so long obscured our atmosphere. I am in hopes that some of the dis 
ciples of your institution will become missionaries to us, of these doctrines truly 
evangelical, and open our eyes to what has been so long hidden from them. A 
bold and eloquent preacher would be nowhere listened to with more freedom 
than in this State, nor with more firmness of mind. They might need a pre 
paratory discourse on the text of " prove all things, hold fast that which 
is good," in order to unlearn the lesson that reason is an unlawful guide in reli 
gion. They might startle on being first awaked from the dreams of the night, 
but they would rub their eyes at once, and look the spectres boldly in the face. 
The preacher might be excluded by our hierophants from their churches and 
meeting-houses, but would be attended in the fields by whole acres of hearers 
and thinkers. Missionaries from Cambridge would soon be greeted with more 
welcome, than from the tritheistical school of Andover. Such are my wishes, 
such would be my welcomes, warm and cordial as the assurances of my esteem 
and respect for you. 

222 THE WRITINGS OF [1822 

venience, the indulgence can be continued until the ensuing 
spring, (say till May) it can then be paid without loss, and shall 
certainly be paid. This however is left to your kind considera 
tion, and your final determination shall be my law, at any loss 
whatever. With the just acknolegement of the past indulgencies, 
accept the assurance of my great esteem and respect. 1 


MONTICELLO, Oct: 27. 22. 

DEAR SIR, I have deferred my thanks for the copy of your 
Life of Genl. Greene, until I could have time to read it. This 
I have done, and with the greatest satisfaction ; and can now more 
understandingly express the gratification it has afforded me. I 
really rejoice that we have at length a fair history of the Southern 
war. It proves how much we were left to defend ourselves as we 
could, while the resources of the Union were so disproportionately 
devoted to the North. I am glad too to see the Romance of Lee 
removed from the shelf of History to that of Fable. Some small 
portion of the transactions he relates were within my own knolege ; 
and of these I can say he has given more falsehood than fact ; 
and I have heard many officers declare the same as to what had 
passed under their eyes. Yet this book had begun to be quoted 
as history. Greene was truly a great man, he had not perhaps 
all the qualities which so peculiarly rendered Genl. Washington 
the fittest man on earth for directing so great a contest under so 
great difficulties. Difficulties proceeding not from lukewarmness 

1 A year later Jefferson wrote : 

MONTICELLO, July 8, 23. 

MESSRS. LEROY AND BAYARD, You have reason to believe I am unmind 
ful that I ought ere this to have remitted you the amount of my last bond ; but 
it is duly in mind altho" delayed. My resources for payment as stated to you 
on former occasions, are the produce of my farms. They have usually got to 
Richmond in June : but are tardier this year than ever. Calculating the passage 
of my tobacco down the river and time for inspection and sale, I shall be able 
to remit you one half the amount by the end of this month, and the other half 
soon after. I have thought it a duty to remove suspense on the subject. Al 
ways acknoleging the kindness of your indulgence I salute you ever with friend 
ship and respect. 


in our citizens or their functionaries, as our military leaders sup 
posed ; but from the pennyless condition of a people, totally shut 
out from all commerce & intercourse with the world, and there 
fore without any means for converting their labor into money. 
But Greene was second to no one in enterprise, in resource, in 
sound judgment, promptitude of decision, and every other military 
talent. In addition to the work you have given us, I look forward 
with anxiety to that you promise in the last paragraph of your 
book. Lee's military fable you have put down. Let not the in 
vidious libel on the views of the Republican party, and on their 
regeneration of the government go down to posterity as hypocriti 
cally masked. I was myself too laboriously employed, while in 
office, and too old when I left it, to do justice to those who had 
labored so faithfully to arrest our course towards monarchy, and 
to secure the result of our revolutionary sufferings and sacrifices 
in a government bottomed on the only safe basis, the elective will 
of the people. You are young enough for the task, and I hope 
you will undertake it. 

There is a subject respecting the practice of the court of which 
you are a member, which has long weighed on my mind, on which 
I have long thought I would write to you, and which I will take 
this opportunity of doing. It is in truth a delicate undertaking, 
& yet such is my opinion of your candor and devotedness to the 
Constitution, in it's true spirit, that I am sure I shall meet your 
approbation in unbosoming myself to you. The subject of my 
uneasiness is the habitual mode of making up and delivering the 
opinions of the supreme court of the US. 

You know that from the earliest ages of the English law, from 
the date of the year-books, at least, to the end of the lid George, 
the judges of England, in all but self-evident cases, delivered 
their opinions seriatim, with the reasons and authorities which 
governed their decisions. If they sometimes consulted together, 
and gave a general opinion, it was so rarely as not to excite 
either alarm or notice. Besides the light which their separate 
arguments threw on the subject, and the instruction communi 
cated by their several modes of reasoning, it shewed whether the 
judges were unanimous or divided, and gave accordingly more 
or less weight to the judgment as a precedent. It sometimes 

224 THE WRITINGS OF [1822 

happened too that when there were three opinions against one, 
the reasoning of the one was so much the most cogent as to 
become afterwards the law of the land. When Ld. Mansfield 
came to the bench he introduced the habit of caucusing opinions. 
The judges met at their chambers, or elsewhere, secluded from 
the presence of the public, and made up what was to be delivered 
as the opinion of the court. On the retirement of Mansfield, 
Ld. Kenyon put an end to the practice, and the judges returned 
to that of seriatim opinions, and practice it habitually to this day, 
I believe. I am not acquainted with the late reporters, do not 
possess them, and state the fact from the information of others. 
To come now to ourselves I know nothing of what is done in 
other states, but in this our great and good Mr. Pendleton was, 
after the revolution, placed at the head of the court of Appeals. 
He adored Ld. Mansfield, & considered him as the greatest 
luminary of law that any age had ever produced, and he intro 
duced into the court over which he presided, Mansfield's prac 
tice of making up opinions in secret & delivering them as the 
Oracles of the court, in mass. Judge Roane, when he came to 
that bench, broke up the practice, refused to hatch judgments, in 
Conclave, or to let others deliver opinions for him. At what 
time the seriatim opinions ceased in the supreme Court of the 
US., I am not informed. They continued I know to the end of 
the 3d Dallas in 1800. Later than which I have no Reporter 
of that court. About that time the present C. J. came to the 
bench. Whether he carried the practice of Mr. Pendleton to it, 
or who, or when I do not know ; but I understand from others 
it is now the habit of the court, & I suppose it true from the 
cases sometimes reported in the newspapers, and others which 
I casually see, wherein I observe that the opinions were uniformly 
prepared in private. Some of these cases too have been of such 
importance, of such difficulty, and the decisions so grating to a 
portion of the public as to have merited the fullest explanation 
from every judge seriatim, of the reasons which had produced 
such convictions on his mind. It was interesting to the public 
to know whether these decisions were really unanimous, or might 
not perhaps be of 4. against 3. and consequently prevailing by 
the preponderance of one voice only. The Judges holding their 


offices for life are under two responsibilities only. i. Impeach 
ment. 2. Individual reputation. But this practice compleatly 
withdraws them from both. For nobody knows what opinion 
any individual member gave in any case, nor even that he who 
delivers the opinion, concurred in it himself. Be the opinion 
therefore ever so impeachable, having been done in the dark it 
can be proved on no one. As to the 2d guarantee, personal 
reputation, it is shielded compleatly. The practice is certainly 
convenient for the lazy, the modest & the incompetent. It saves 
them the trouble of developing their opinion methodically and 
even of making up an opinion at all. That of seriatim argument 
shews whether every judge has taken the trouble of understand 
ing the case, of investigating it minutely, and of forming an 
opinion for himself, instead of pinning it on another's sleeve. It 
would certainly be right to abandon this practice in order to give 
to our citizens one and all, that confidence in their judges which 
must be so desirable to the judges themselves, and so important 
to the cement of the union. During the administration of Genl. 
Washington, and while E. Randolph was Attorney General, he 
was required by Congress to digest the judiciary laws into a 
single one, with such amendments as might be thought proper. 
He prepared a section requiring the Judges to give their opinions 
seriatim, in writing, to be recorded in a distinct volume. Other 
business prevented this bill from being taken up, and it passed 
off, but such a volume would have been the best possible book 
of reports, and the better, as unincumbered with the hired soph 
isms and perversions of Counsel. 

What do you think of the state of parties at this time ? An 
opinion prevails that there is no longer any distinction, that the 
republicans & Federalists are compleatly amalgamated but it is 
not so. The amalgamation is of name only, not of principle. 
All indeed call themselves by the name of Republicans, because 
that of Federalists was extinguished in the battle of New Orleans. 
But the truth is that finding that monarchy is a desperate wish in 
this country, they rally to the point which they think next best, a 
consolidated government. Their aim is now therefore to break 
down the rights reserved by the constitution to the states as a 
bulwark against that consolidation, the fear of which produced 

VOL. X. 15 

226 THE WRITINGS OF [1822 

the whole of the opposition to the constitution at it's birth. 
Hence new Republicans in Congress, preaching the doctrines of 
the old Federalists, and the new nick-names of Ultras and Radi 
cals. But I trust they will fail under the new, as the old name, 
and that the friends of the real constitution and union will 
prevail against consolidation, as they have done against mon- 
archism. I scarcely know myself which is most to be deprecated, 
a consolidation, or dissolution of the states. The horrors of 
both are beyond the reach of human foresight. 

I have written you a long letter, and committed to you thoughts 
which I would do to few others. If I am right, you will approve 
them ; if wrong, commiserate them as the dreams of a Superan 
nuate about things from which he is to derive neither good nor 
harm. But you will still receive them as a proof of my confidence 
in the rectitude of your mind and principles, of which I pray you 
to receive entire assurance with that of my continued and great 
friendship and respect. 1 

1 Jefferson further wrote to Johnson on this subject : 

MONTICELLO, June 12, 1823. 

DEAR SIR, Our correspondence is of that accommodating character, which 
admits of suspension at the convenience of either party, without inconvenience 
to the other. Hence this tardy acknowledgment of your favor of April the nth. 
I learn from that with great pleasure, that you have resolved on continuing your 
history of parties. Our opponents are far ahead of us in preparations for placing 
their cause favorably before posterity. Yet I hope even from some of them the 
escape of precious truths, in angry explosions or effusions of vanity, which will 
betray the genuine monarchism of their principles. They do not themselves 
believe what they endeavor to inculcate, that we were an opposition party, not 
on principle, but merely seeking for office. The fact is, that at the formation 
of our government, many had formed their political opinions on European 
writings and practices, believing the experience of old countries, and especially 
of England, abusive as it was, to be a safer guide than mere theory. The doc 
trines of Europe were, that men in numerous associations cannot be restrained 
within the limits of order and justice, but by forces physical and moral, wielded 
over them by authorities independent of their will. Hence their organization 
of kings, hereditary nobles, and priests. Still further to constrain the brute 
force of the people, they deem it necessary to keep them down by hard labor, 
poverty and ignorance, and to take from them, as from bees, so much of their 
earnings, as that unremitting labor shall be necessary to obtain a sufficient sur 
plus barely to sustain a scanty and miserable life. And these earnings they 



MONTICELLO, Oct. 28. 22. 

I will not, my dear friend, undertake to quote by 
their dates the several letters you have written me. 
They have been proofs of your continued friendship 
to me, and my silence is no evidence of any abatement 
of mine to you. That can never be while I have 

apply to maintain their privileged orders in splendor and idleness, to fascinate 
the eyes of the people, and excite in them an humble adoration and submission, 
as to an order of superior beings. Although few among us had gone all these 
lengths of opinion, yet many had advanced, some more, some less, on the way. 
And in the convention which formed our government, they endeavored to draw 
the cords of power as tight as they could obtain them, to lessen the dependence 
of the general functionaries on their constituents, to subject to them those of 
the States, and to weaken their means of maintaining the steady equilibrium 
which the majority of the convention had deemed salutary for both branches, 
general and local. To recover, therefore, in practice the powers which the 
nation had refused, and to warp to their own wishes those actually given, was 
the steady object of the federal party. Ours, on the contrary, was to maintain 
the will of the majority of the convention, and of the people themselves. We 
believed, with them, that man was a rational animal, endowed by nature with 
rights, and with an innate sense of justice ; and that he could be restrained from 
wrong and protected in right, by moderate powers, confided to persons of his 
own choice, and held to their duties by dependence on his own will. We be 
lieved that the complicated organization of kings, nobles, and priests, was not 
the wisest nor best to effect the happiness of associated man ; that wisdom and 
virtue were not hereditary ; that the trappings of such a machinery, consumed by 
their expense, those earnings of industry, they were meant to protect, and, by 
the inequalities they produced, exposed liberty to sufferance. We believed that 
men, enjoying in ease and security the full fruits of their own industry, enlisted 
by all their interests on the side of law and order, habituated to think for them 
selves, and to follow their reason as their guide, would be more easily and safely 
governed, than with minds nourished in error, and vitiated and debased, as in 
Europe, by ignorance, indigence and oppression. The cherishment of the 
people then was our principle, the fear and distrust of them, that of the other 
party. Composed, as we were, of the landed and laboring interests of the 
country, we could not be less anxious for a government of law and order than 
were the inhabitants of the cities, the strongholds of federalism. And whether 
our efforts to save the principles and form of our constitution have not been 
salutary, let the present republican freedom, order and prosperity of our country 

228 THE WRITINGS OF [1822 

breath and recollections so dear to me. Among the 
few survivors of our revolutionary struggles, you are as 
distinguished in my affections, as in the eyes of the 
world, & especially in those of this country. You 
are now, I believe, the Doyen of our military heroes, 

determine. History may distort truth, and will distort it for a time, by the su 
perior efforts at justification of those who are conscious of needing it most. Nor 
will the opening scenes of our present government be seen in their true aspect, 
until the letters of the day, now held in private hoards, shall be broken up and 
laid open to public view. What a treasure will be found in General Washing 
ton's cabinet, when it shall pass into the hands of as candid a friend to truth as 
he was himself ! When no longer, like Caesar's notes and memorandums in the 
hands of Anthony, it shall be open to the high priests of federalism only, and 
garbled to say so much, and no more, as suits their views ! 

With respect to his farewell address, to the authorship of which, it seems, 
there are conflicting claims, I can state to you some facts. He had determined 
to decline re-election at the end of his first term, and so far determined, that he 
had requested Mr. Madison to prepare for him something valedictory, to be ad 
dressed to his constituents on his retirement. This was done, but he was finally 
persuaded to acquiesce in a second election, to which no one more strenuously 
pressed him than myself, from a conviction of the importance of strengthening, 
by longer habit, the respect necessary for that office, which the weight of his 
character only could effect. When, at the end of his second term, his Valedic 
tory came out, Mr. Madison recognized in it several passages of his draught, 
several others, we were both satisfied, were from the pen of Hamilton, and 
others from that of the President himself. These he probably put into the hands 
of Hamilton to form into a whole, and hence it may all appear in Hamilton's 
hand-writing, as if it were all of his composition. 

I have stated above, that the original objects of the federalists were, 1st, to 
warp our government more to the form and principles of monarchy, and, 2d, 
to weaken the barriers of the State governments as codrdinate powers. In the 
first they have been so completely foiled by the universal spirit of the nation, 
that they have abandoned the enterprise, shrunk from the odium of their old 
appellation, taken to themselves a participation of ours, and under the pseudo- 
republican mask, are now aiming at their second object, and strengthened by 
unsuspecting or apostate recruits from our ranks, are advancing fast towards an 
ascendancy. I have been blamed for saying, that a prevalence of the doctrines 
of consolidation would one day call for reformation or revolution. I answer by 
asking if a single State of the Union would have agreed to the constitution, had 
it given all powers to the General Government ? If the whole opposition to it 
did not proceed from the jealousy and fear of every State, of being subjected to 
the other States in matters merely its own ? And if there is any reason to 

1 82 2] THOMAS JEFFERSON. 229 

& may I not say of the soldiers of liberty in the 
world ? We differ in this. My race is run ; while 
you have three good lustres yet to reach my time ; 
& these may give you much to do. Weighed down 

believe the States more disposed now than then, to acquiesce in this general 
surrender of all their rights and powers to a consolidated government, one and 

You request me confidentially, to examine the question, whether the Supreme 
Court has advanced beyond its constitutional limits, and trespassed on those of 
the State authorities ? I do not undertake it, my dear Sir, because I am unable. 
Age and the wane of mind consequent on it, have disqualified me from investi 
gations so severe, and researches so laborious. And it is the less necessary in 
this case, as having been already done by others with a logic and learning to 
which I could add nothing. On the decision of the case of Cohens vs. The 
State of Virginia, in the Supreme Court of the United States, in March, 1821, 
Judge Roane, under the signature of Algernon Sidney, wrote for the Enquirer 
a series of papers on the law of that case. I considered these papers maturely 
as they came out, and confess that they appeared to me to pulverize every word 
which had been delivered by Judge Marshall, of the extra-judicial part of 
his opinion ; and all was extra-judicial, except the decision that the act of Con 
gress had not purported to give to the corporation of Washington the authority 
claimed by their lottery law, of controlling the laws of the States within the 
States themselves. But unable to claim that case, he could not let it go 
entirely, but went on gratuitously to prove, that notwithstanding the eleventh 
amendment of the constitution, a State could be brought as a defendant, 
to the bar of his court ; and again, that Congress might authorize a corpora 
tion of its territory to exercise legislation within a State, and paramount 
to the laws of that State. I cite the sum and result only of his doctrines, accord 
ing to the impression made on my mind at the time, and still remaining. If 
not strictly accurate in circumstance, it is so in substance. This doctrine was 
so completely refuted by Roane, that if he can be answered, I surrender human 
reason as a vain and useless faculty, given to bewilder, and not to guide us. 
And I mention this particular case as one only of several, because it gave occa 
sion to that thorough examination of the constitutional limits between the Gen 
eral and State jurisdictions, which you have asked for. There were two other 
writers in the same paper, under the signatures of Fletcher of Saltoun, and 
Somers, who, in a few essays, presented some very luminous and striking views 
of the question. And there was a particular paper which recapitulated all the 
cases in which it was thought the federal court had usurped on the State juris 
dictions. These essays will be found in the Enquirers of 1821, from May the 
loth to July the I3th. It is not in my present power to send them to you, but 
if Ritchie can furnish them, I will procure and forward them. If they had 

230 THE WRITINGS OF [1822 

with years, I am still more disabled from writing by 
a wrist & fingers almost without joints. This has 
obliged me to withdraw from all correspondence that 
is not indispensable. I have written, for a long time, 

been read in the other States, as they were here, I think they would have left, 
there as here, no dissentients from their doctrine. The subject was taken up 
by our legislature of i82i-'22, and two draughts of remonstrances were pre 
pared and discussed. As well as I remember, there was no difference of opinion 
as to the matter of right ; but there was as to the expediency of a remonstrance 
at that time, the general mind of the States being then under extraordinary ex 
citement by the Missouri question ; and it was dropped on that consideration. 
But this case is not dead, it only sleepeth. The Indian Chief said he did not 
go to war for every petty injury by itself, but put it into his pouch, and when 
that was full, he then made war. Thank Heaven, we have provided a more 
peaceable and rational mode of redress. 

This practice of Judge Marshall, of travelling out of his case to prescribe what 
the law would be in a moot case not before the court, is very irregular and very 
censurable. I recollect another instance, and the more particularly, perhaps, 
because it in some measure bore on myself. Among the midnight appointments 
of Mr. Adams, were commissions to some federal justices of the peace for 
Alexandria. These were signed and sealed by him, but not delivered. I found 
them on the table of the department of State, on my entrance into office, and I 
forbade their delivery. Marbury, named in one of them, applied to the Supreme 
Court for a mandamus to the Secretary of State, (Mr. Madison) to deliver the 
commission intended for him. The court determined at once, that being an 
original process, they had no cognizance of it ; and therefore the question 
before them was ended. But the Chief Justice went on to lay down what the 
law would be, had they jurisdiction of the case, to wit : that they should com 
mand the delivery. The object was clearly to instruct any other court having 
the jurisdiction, what they should do if Marbury should apply to them. Besides 
the impropriety of this gratuitous interference, could anything exceed the per 
version of law ? For if there is any principle of law never yet contradicted, 
it is that delivery is one of the essentials to the validity of the deed. Although 
signed and sealed, yet as long as it remains in the hands of the party himself, it 
is in fieri only, it is not a deed, and can be made so only by its delivery. In 
the hands of a third person it may be made an escrow. But whatever is in the 
executive offices is certainly deemed to be in the hands of the President ; and in 
this case, was actually in my hands, because, when I countermanded them, 
there was as yet no Secretary of State. Yet this case of Marbury and Madison 
is continually cited by bench and bar, as if it were settled law, without any 
animadversion on its being merely an obiter dissertation of the Chief Justice. 

It may be impracticable to lay down any general formula of words which 


to none of my foreign friends, because I am really 
unable to do it. I owe them therefore apologies, or 
rather truths. Will you be my advocate with those 

shall decide at once, and with precision, in every case, this limit of jurisdiction. 
But there are two canons which will guide us safely in most of the cases. 1st. 
The capital and leading object of the constitution was to leave with the States 
all authorities which respected their own citizens only, and to transfer to the 
United States those which respected citizens of foreign or other States : to make 
us several as to ourselves, but one as to all others. In the latter case, then, 
constructions should lean to the general jurisdiction, if the words will bear it ; 
and in favor of the States in the former, if possible to be so construed. And 
indeed, between citizens and citizens of the same State, and under their own 
laws, I know but a single case in which a jurisdiction is given to the General 
Government. That is, where anything but gold or silver is made a lawful ten 
der, or the obligation of contracts is any otherwise impaired. The separate 
legislatures had so often abused that power, that the citizens themselves chose 
to trust it to the general, rather than to their own special authorities. 2d. On 
every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the con 
stitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead 
of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, 
conform to the probable one in which it was passed. Let us try Cohen's case 
by these canons only, referring always, however, for full argument, to the essays 
before cited. 

1. It was between a citizen and his own State, and under a law of his State. 
It was a domestic case, therefore, and not a foreign one. 

2. Can it be believed, that under the jealousies prevailing against the Gen 
eral Government, at the adoption of the constitution, the States meant to sur 
render the authority of preserving order, of enforcing moral duties and restraining 
vice, within their own territory ? And this is the present case, that of Cohen 
being under the ancient and general law of gaming. Can any good be effected 
by taking from the States the moral rule of their citizens, and subordinating it 
to the general authority, or to one of their corporations, which may justify forc 
ing the meaning of words, hunting after possible constructions, and hanging 
inference on inference, from heaven to earth, like Jacob's ladder? Such an in 
tention was impossible, and such a licentiousness of construction and inference, 
if exercised by both governments, as may be done with equal right, would 
equally authorize both to claim all power, general and particular, and break up 
the foundations of the Union. Laws are made for men of ordinary under 
standing, and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common 
sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties, which 
may make anything mean everything or nothing, at pleasure. It should be left 
to the sophisms of advocates, whose trade it is, to prove that a defendant is a 

232 THE WRITINGS OF [1822 

who complain and especially with Mr. Tracy, who I 
hope is in the recovery of health, & enabled to con 
tinue his invaluable labors. 

plaintiff, though dragged into court, torto collo, like Bonaparte's volunteers, 
into the field in chains, or that a power has been given, because it ought to 
have been given, et alia talia. The States supposed that by their tenth amend 
ment, they had secured themselves against constructive powers. They were not 
lessoned yet by Cohen's case, nor aware of the slipperiness of the eels of the 
law. I ask for no straining of words against the General Government, nor yet 
against the States. I believe the States can best govern our home concerns, 
and the General Government our foreign ones. I wish, therefore, to see main 
tained that wholesome distribution of powers established by the constitution for 
the limitation of both ; and never to see all offices transferred to Washington, 
where, further withdrawn from the eyes of the people, they may more secretly 
be bought and sold as at market. 

But the Chief Justice says, " there must be an ultimate arbiter somewhere." 
True, there must ; but does that prove it is either party? The ultimate arbiter 
is the people of the Union, assembled by their deputies in convention, at the 
call of Congress, or of two-thirds of the States. Let them decide to which they 
mean to give an authority claimed by two of their organs. And it has been the 
peculiar wisdom and felicity of our constitution, to have provided this peaceable 
appeal, where that of other nations is at once to force. 

I rejoice in the example you set of seriatim opinions. I have heard it often 
noticed, and always with high approbation. Some of your brethren will be 
encouraged to follow it occasionally, and in time, it may be felt by all as a duty, 
and the sound practice of the primitive court be again restored. Why should 
not every judge be asked his opinion, and give it from the bench, if only by yea 
or nay ? Besides ascertaining the fact of his opinion, which the public have a 
right to know, in order to judge whether it is impeachable or not, it would show 
whether the opinions were unanimous or not, and thus settle more exactly the 
weight of their authority. 

The close of my second sheet warns me that it is time now to relieve you from 
this letter of unmerciful length. Indeed, I wonder how I have accomplished it, 
with two crippled wrists, the one scarcely able to move my pen, the other to 
hold my paper. But I am hurried sometimes beyond the sense of pain, when 
unbosoming myself to friends who harmonize with me in principle. You and I 
may differ occasionally in details of minor consequence, as no two minds, more 
than two faces, are the same in every feature. But our general objects are the 
same, to preserve the republican form and principles of our constitution and 
cleave to the salutary distribution of powers which that has established. These 
are the two sheet anchors of our Union. If driven from either, we shall be in 
danger of foundering. To my prayers for its safety and perpetuity, I add those 
for the continuation of your health, happiness, and usefulness to your country. 


On the affairs of your hemisphere I have two 
reasons for saying little. The one that I know little 
of them. The other that, having thought alike thro' 
our lives, my sentiments, if intercepted, might be im 
puted to you, as reflections of your own. I will 
hazard therefore but the single expression of assur 
ance that this general insurrection of the world against 
it's tyrants will ultimately prevail by pointing the ob 
ject of government to the happiness of the people 
and not merely to that of their self-constituted gov 
ernors. On our affairs little can be expected from an 
Octogenary, retired within the recesses of the moun 
tains, going nowhere, seeing nobody but his own 
house, & reading a single newspaper only, & that 
chiefly for the sake of the advertisements. I dare 
say you see & read as many of them as I do. You 
will have seen how prematurely they have begun to 
agitate us with the next presidential election. Many 
candidates are named : but they will be reduced to 
two, Adams & Crawford. Party principles, as hereto 
fore will have their weight, but the papers tell you 
there are no parties now, republicans and federalists 
forsooth are all amalgamated. This, my friend, is not 
so. The same parties exist now which existed before. 
But the name of Federalist was extinguished in the 
battle of New Orleans ; and those who wore it now 
call themselves republicans. Like the fox pursued 
by the dogs, they take shelter in the midst of the 
sheep. They see that monarchism is a hopeless wish 
in this country, and are rallying anew to the next best 
point a consolidated government. They are there- 

234 THE WRITINGS OF [1822 

fore endeavouring to break down the barriers of the 
state rights, provided by the constitution against a 
consolidation. Hence you will see in the debates of 
Congress these new republicans maintaining the most 
ultra doctrines of the old federalists. This new meta 
morphosis is the only clue which will enable you to 
understand these strange appearances. They will be 
come more prominent in the ensuing discussions. 
One candidate is supposed to be a consolidationist, 
the other a republican of the old school, a friend to 
the constitutional organization of the government, 
and believing that the strength of the members can 
alone give real strength to the body. And this is 
the sentiment of the nation, and will probably prevail 
if the principle of the Missouri question should not 
mingle itself with those of the election. Should it do 
so, all will be uncertain. This uncertainty however 
gives me no uneasiness. Both are able men, both 
honest men, and whatever be the bias, the good sense 
of our people will direct the boat ultimately to it's 
proper point. 

I learn with great pleasure that you enjoy good 
health. Mine is also good altho' I am very weak. I 
cannot walk further than my garden without fatigue. 
But I am still able to ride on horseback, and it is my 
only exercise. That your life may be continued in 
health and happiness to the term of your own wishes 
is the fervent prayer of your constant and affectionate 



MONTICELLO, October 29, 1822. 

DEAR SIR, After a long silence, I salute you with affection. 
The weight of eighty years pressing heavily upon me, with a wrist 
and fingers almost without joints, I write as little as possible, 
because I do it with pain and labor. I retain, however, still the 
same affection for my friends, and especially for my ancient col 
leagues, which I ever did, and the same wishes for their happiness. 
Your treaty has been received here with universal gladness. It 
was indeed a strange quarrel, like that of two pouting lovers, and 
a pimp filching both ; it was nuts for England. When I liken 
them to lovers, I speak of the people, not of their governments. 
Of the cordial love of one of these the Holy Alliance may know 
more than I do. I will confine myself to our own affairs. You 
have seen in our papers how prematurely they are agitating the 
question of the next President. This proceeds from some un 
easiness at the present state of things. There is considerable 
dissatisfaction with the increase of the public expenses, and 
especially with the necessity of borrowing money in time of 
peace. This was much arraigned at the last session of Congress, 
and will be more so at the next. The misfortune is that the 
persons most looked to as successors in the government are of the 
President's Cabinet ; and their partisans in Congress are making 
a handle of these things to help, or hurt those for or against 
whom they are. The candidates, ins and outs, seem at present 
to be many ; but they will be reduced to two, a Northern and 
Southern one, as usual ; to judge of the event the state of parties 
must be understood. You are told, indeed, that there are no 
longer parties among us ; that they are all now amalgamated ; the 
lion and the lamb lie down together in peace. Do not believe a 
word of it. The same parties exist now as ever did. No longer, 
indeed, under the name of Republicans and Federalists. The 
latter name was extinguished in the battle of Orleans. Those 
who wore it, finding monarchism a desperate wish in this country, 
are rallying to what they deem the next best point, a consolidated 
government. Although this is not yet avowed (as that of mon 
archism, you know, never was), it exists decidedly, and is the true 

236 THE WRITINGS OF [1822 

key to the debates in Congress, wherein you see many calling 
themselves Republicans and preaching the rankest doctrines of 
the old Federalists. One of the prominent candidates is pre 
sumed to be of this party ; and the other a Republican of the old 
school and a friend of the barrier of States rights, as provided by 
the Constitution against the danger of consolidation, which dan 
ger was the principal ground of opposition to it at its birth. 
Pennsylvania and New York will decide this question. If the 
Missouri principle mixes itself in the question, it will go one way ; 
if not it may go the other. Among the smaller motives, heredi 
tary fears may alarm one side, and the long line of local nativities 
on the other. In this division of parties the judges are true to 
their ancient vocation of sappers and miners. 

Our University of Virginia, my present hobby, has been at a 
stand for a twelve-month past for want of funds. Our last 
Legislature refused anything. The late elections give better 
hopes of the next. The institution is so far advanced that it 
will force itself through. So little is now wanting that the first 
liberal Legislature will give it its last lift. The buildings are in a 
style of purely classical architecture, and, although not yet fin 
ished, are become an object of visit to all strangers. Our inten 
tion is that its professors shall be of the first order in their 
respective lines which can be procured on either side of the 
Atlantic. Sameness of language will probably direct our applica 
tions chiefly to Edinburgh. 

I place some letters under the protection of your cover. You 
will be so good as to judge whether that address to Lodi will 
go more safely through the public mail or by any of the diplo 
matic couriers, liable to the curiosity and carelessness of public 
officers. Accept the assurances of my constant and affectionate 
friendship and respect. 


MONTICELLO, Oct. 31. 22. 

DEAR SIR, Your letter of Aug. 31, dated so soon after your de 
parture gave me hopes that the sufferings at sea of Mrs. Dearborn 

1 From a copy courteously furnished by Dr. J. S. H. Fogg of Boston. 


and yourself, if any, had been short. I hope you will both find 
Lisbon a pleasant residence. I have heard so much of it's climate 
that I suppose that alone will go far towards making it so ; and 
should the want of the language of the country lessen the enjoy 
ment of it's society, this will be considerably supplied by the 
numbers you will find there who speak your own language. Take 
into the account also that you will escape the two years agitation 
just commencing with us. Even before you had left us our news 
papers had already begun to excite the question of the next 
president. They are advancing fast into it. Many candidates 
are named, but they will settle down, as is believed, to Adams 
and Crawford. If the Missouri principle should mingle itself 
with the party divisions the result will be very doubtful. For 
altho' it is pretended there are no longer any parties among us, 
that all are amalgamated, yet the fact is that the same parties 
exist now that ever existed, not indeed under the old names of 
Republicans and Federalists. The Hartford Convention and 
battle of New Orleans extinguished the latter name. All now 
call themselves republicans, as the fox when pursued by dogs 
takes shelter in the midst of the sheep. Finding monarchy 
desperate here, they rally to their next hope, a consolidated 
government, and altho' they do not avow it (as they never 
did monarchism) yet it is manifestly their next object. 

Hence you see so many of these new republicans maintaining 
in Congress the rankest doctrines of the old federalists. The 
judges aid in their old way as sappers and miners. One of the 
candidates is supposed to be a Consolidationist, the other for 
maintaining the banner of state rights as provided by the constitu 
tion against the fear of Consolidation. 

Our Virginia University is now my sole occupation. It is 
within sight of Monticello, and the buildings nearly finished, and 
we shall endeavor, by the best Professors either side of the 
Atlantic can furnish to make it worthy of the public notice. 
Strange as the idea may seem, I sincerely think that the promi 
nent characters of the country where you are could not better 
prepare their sons for the duties they will have to perform in their 
new government than by sending them here where they might 
become familiarised with the habits and practice of self-govern- 

238 THE WRITINGS OF [1822 

ment. This lesson is scarcely to be acquired but in this country, 
and yet without it, the political vessel is all sail and no ballast. 

I have a friend, of Portugal, in whose welfare I feel great 
interest, but whether now there, or where, I know not. It is the 
Abbe 1 Correa who past some years in the U. S. and was a part 
of the time the Minister of Portugal at Washington. He left it 
under an appointment to the cabinet-council of Rio Janeiro, 
taking his passage thither by the way of England. While at 
London or Paris he would have heard that the King and court 
had returned to Lisbon ; and what he did next is unknown here. 
He writes to none of his friends, & yet there is no one on whose 
behalf his friends feel a more lively solicitude, or wish more to 
hear of or from. If at Lisbon, and it should ever fall in your way 
to render him a service or kindness, I should consider it as more 
than if done to myself. If things go unfavorably to him there, 
he would be received with joy into our University, and would 
certainly find it a comfortable and lucrative retirement. Should 
he be in Lisbon, be so good as to say so to him. Say to Mrs. 
Dearborn also, how much she possesses the affection and respect 
of the whole family at Monticello, and accept for yourself the 
assurance of my constant friendship & respect. 


MONTICELLO, November i, 1822. 

DEAR SIR, I have racked my memory and ran 
sacked my papers, to enable myself to answer the in 
quiries of your favor of October i5th; but to little 
purpose. 1 My papers furnish me nothing, my memory, 

1 Adams' letter to Jefferson was as follows : 

October 15, 1822. 

DEAR SIR, I have long entertained scruples about writing this letter, upon 
a subject of some delicacy. But old age has overcome them at last. 

You remember the four ships ordered by Congress to be built, and the four 
captains appointed by Washington, Talbot, and Truxton, and Barry, &c., to 
carry an ambassador to Algiers, and protect our commerce in the Mediterranean. 


generalities only. I know that while I was in Europe, 
and anxious about the fate of our seafaring men, for 
some of whom, then in captivity in Algiers, we were 
treating, and all were in like danger, I formed, un- 
doubtingly, the opinion that our government, as soon 
as practicable, should provide a naval force sufficient 
to keep the Barbary States in order ; and on this 

I have always imputed this measure to you, for several reasons. First, because 
you frequently proposed it to me while we were at Paris, negotiating together 
for peace with the Barbary powers. Secondly, because I knew that Washington 
and Hamilton were not only indifferent about a navy, but averse to it. There 
was no Secretary of the Navy; only four Heads of department. You were Sec 
retary of State ; Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury ; Knox, Secretary of War ; 
and I believe Bradford was Attorney General. I have always suspected that 
you and Knox were in favor of a navy. If Bradford was so, the majority was 
clear. But Washington, I am confident, was against it in his judgment. But 
his attachment to Knox, and his deference to your opinion, for I know he had a 
great regard for you, might induce him to decide in favor of you and Knox, 
even though Bradford united with Hamilton in opposition to you. That Ham 
ilton was averse to the measure, I have personal evidence ; for while it was 
pending, he came in a hurry and a fit of impatience, to make a visit to me. He 
said he was likely to be called upon for a large sum of money to build ships of 
war, to fight the Algerines, and he asked my opinion of the measure. I an 
swered him that I was clearly in favor of it. For I had always been of opinion, 
from the commencement of the revolution, that a navy was the most powerful, 
the safest and the cheapest national defence for this country. My advice, there 
fore, was, that as much of the revenue as could possibly be spared, should be 
applied to the building and equipping of ships. The conversation was of some 
length but it was manifest in his looks and in his air, that he was disgusted at 
the measure, as well as at the opinion that I had expressed. 

Mrs. Knox not long since wrote a letter to Dr. Waterhouse, requesting him 
to procure a commission for her son, in the navy ; that navy, says her ladyship, 
of which his father was the parent. " For," says she, " I have frequently heard 
General Washington say to my husband, the navy was your child." I have 
always believed it to be Jefferson's child, though Knox may have assisted in 
ushering it into the world. Hamilton's hobby was the army. That Washing 
ton was averse to a navy, I had full proof from his own lips, in many different 
conversations, some of them of length, in which he always insisted that it was 
only building and arming ships for the English. " Si quid novisti rectius istis 
candidus imperti ; si non, his utere mecum," 

If I am in error in any particular, pray correct your humble servant. 

240 THE WRITINGS OF [1822 

subject we communicated together, as you observe. 
When I returned to the United States and took part 
in the administration under General Washington, I 
constantly maintained that opinion ; and in December, 
1790, took advantage of a reference to me from the 
first Congress which met after I was in office, to 
report in favor of a force sufficient for the protection 
of our Mediterranean commerce ; and I laid before 
them an accurate statement of the whole Barbary 
force, public and private. I think General Washing 
ton approved of building vessels of war to that extent. 
General Knox, I know, did. But what was Colonel 
Hamilton's opinion, I do not in the least remember. 
Your recollections on that subject are certainly 
corroborated by his known anxieties for a close con 
nection with Great Britain, to which he might appre 
hend danger from collisions between their vessels and 
ours. Randolph was then Attorney General ; but his 
opinion on the question I also entirely forget. Some 
vessels of war were accordingly built and sent into the 
Mediterranean. The additions to these in your time, 
I need not note to you, who are well known to have 
ever been an advocate for the wooden walls of 
Themistocles. Some of those you added, were sold 
under an act of Congress passed while you were in 
office. I thought, afterwards, that the public safety 
might require some additional vessels of strength, to 
be prepared and in readiness for the first moment of 
a war, provided they could be preserved against the 
decay which is unavoidable if kept in the water, and 
clear of the expense of officers and men. With this 


view I proposed that they should be built in dry 
docks, above the level of the tide waters, and covered 
with roofs. I further advised, that places for these 
docks should be selected where there was a command 
of water on a high level, as that of the Tyber at 
Washington, by which the vessels might be floated 
out, on the principle of a lock. But the majority of 
the legislature was against any addition to the navy, 
and the minority, although for it in judgment, voted 
against it on a principle of opposition. We are now, 
I understand, building vessels to remain on the stocks, 
under shelter, until wanted, when they would be 
launched and finished. On my plan they could be in 
service at an hour's notice. On this, the finishing, 
after launching, will be a work of time. 

This is all I recollect about the origin and progress 
of our navy. That of the late war, certainly raised 
our rank and character among nations. Yet a navy is 
a very expensive engine. It is admitted, that in ten 
or twelve years a vessel goes to entire decay ; or, if 
kept in repair, costs as much as would build a new 
one ; and that a nation who could count on twelve or 
fifteen years of peace, would gain by burning its navy 
and building a new one in time. Its extent, therefore, 
must be governed by circumstances. Since my pro 
position for a force adequate to the piracies of the 
Mediterranean, a similar necessity has arisen in our 
own seas for considerable addition to that force. 
Indeed, I wish we could have a convention with the 
naval powers of Europe, for them to keep down the 
pirates of the Mediterranean, and the slave ships on 

VOL. x. 16. 

242 THE WRITINGS OF [1822 

the coast of Africa, and for us to perform the same 
duties for the society of nations in our seas. In this 
way, those collisions would be avoided between the 
vessels of war of different nations, which beget wars 
and constitute the weightiest objection to navies. I 
salute you with constant affection and respect. 


MONTICELLO, November 2, 1822. 

DEAR SIR, Your favor of October the i8th came to hand 
yesterday. The atmosphere of our country is unquestionably 
charged with a threatening cloud of fanaticism, lighter in some 
parts, denser in others, but too heavy in all. I had no idea, how 
ever, that in Pennsylvania, the cradle of toleration and freedom 
of religion, it could have arisen to the height you describe. This 
must be owing to the growth of Presbyterianism. The blasphemy 
and absurdity of the five points of Calvin, and the impossibility 
of defending them, render their advocates impatient of reasoning, 
irritable, and prone to denunciation. In Boston, however, and its 
neighborhood, Unitarianism has advanced to so great strength, 
as now to humble this haughtiest of all religious sects ; insomuch 
that they condescend to interchange with them and the other sects, 
the civilities of preaching freely and frequently in each others' 
meeting-houses. In Rhode Island, on the other hand, no secta 
rian preacher will permit an Unitarian to pollute his desk. In 
our Richmond there is much fanaticism, but chiefly among the 
women. . They have their night meetings and praying parties, 
where, attended by their priests, and sometimes by a hen-pecked 
husband, they pour forth the effusions of their love to Jesus, in 
terms as amatory and carnal, as their modesty would permit them 
to use to a mere earthly lover. In our village of Charlottesville, 
there is a good degree of religion, with a small spice only of fa 
naticism. We have four sects, but without either church or meet 
ing-house. The court-house is the common temple, one Sunday 
in the month to each. Here, Episcopalian and Presbyterian, 


Methodist and Baptist, meet together, join in hymning their Maker, 
listen with attention and devotion to each others' preachers, and 
all mix in society with perfect harmony. It is not so in the dis 
tricts where Presbyterianism prevails undividedly. Their ambi 
tion and tyranny would tolerate no rival if they had power. 
Systematical in grasping at an ascendency over all other sects, 
they aim, like the Jesuits, at engrossing the education of the coun 
try, are hostile to every institution which they do not direct, and 
jealous at seeing others begin to attend at all to that object. 
The diffusion of instruction, to which there is now so growing an 
attention, will be the remote remedy to this fever of fanaticism ; 
while the more proximate one will be the progress of Unitarian- 
ism. That this will, ere long, be the religion of the majority from 
north to south, I have no doubt. 

In our university you know there is no Professorship of Divinity. 
A handle has been made of this, to disseminate an idea that this 
is an institution, not merely of no religion, but against all religion. 
Occasion was taken at the last meeting of the Visitors, to bring 
forward an idea that might silence this calumny, which weighed 
on the minds of some honest friends to the institution. In our 
annual report to the legislature, after stating the constitutional 
reasons against a public establishment of any religious instruc 
tion, we suggest the expediency of encouraging the different 
religious sects to establish, each for itself, a professorship of their 
own tenets, on the confines of the university, so near as that their 
students may attend the lectures there, and have the free use of 
our library, and every other accommodation we can give them ; 
preserving, however, their independence of us and of each other. 
This fills the chasm objected to ours, as a defect in an institution 
professing to give instruction in all useful sciences. I think the 
invitation will be accepted, by some sects from candid intentions, 
and by others from jealousy and rivalship. And by bringing the 
sects together, and mixing them with the mass of other students, 
we shall soften their asperities, liberalize and neutralize their 
prejudices, and make the general religion a religion of peace, 
reason, and morality. 

The time of opening our university is still as uncertain as ever. 
All the pavilions, boarding houses, and dormitories are done. 

244 THE WRITINGS OF [1823 

Nothing is now wanting but the central building for a library and 
other general purposes. For this we have no funds, and the last 
legislature refused all aid. We have better hopes of the next. 
But all is uncertain. I have heard with regret of disturbances on 
the part of the students in your seminary. The article of dis 
cipline is the most difficult in American education. Premature 
ideas of independence, too little repressed by parents, beget a 
spirit of insubordination, which is the great obstacle to science 
with us, and a principal cause of its decay since the revolution. 
I look to it with dismay in our institution, as a breaker ahead, 
which I am far from being confident we shall be able to weather. 
The advance of age, and tardy pace of the public patronage, may 
probably spare me the pain of witnessing consequences. 
I salute you with constant friendship and respect. 


Dec. i, 22. 

I thank you Dr. Sir for the oppy. of reading Mr. Taylor's Ire. 
which I now return. News that one can rely on from a country 
with which we have so little intercourse & so much mutual 
interest is doubly grateful. I rejoice to learn that Iturbide's is a 
mere usurpfi. & slenderly supported. Although we have no right 
to intermeddle with the form of government of other nations yet 
it is lawful to wish to see no emperors nor king in our hemisphere, 
and that Brazil as well as Mexico will homologize with us. The 
accident to my arm was slight, its doing well & free from pain. I 
thank you sincerely for your favor to Gibson. He is a worthy 
but unfortunate man. 


MONTICELLO, Jan. 6. 23. 

DEAR SIR, I send you a mass of reading, and so rapidly does 
my hand fail me in writing that I can give but very briefly the 
necessary explanations. 

i. Mr. Cabell's letter to me & mine to him which passed each 
other on the road will give you the state of things respecting the 


University, and I am happy to add that letters received from 
Appleton give us reason to expect our capitals by the first vessel 
from Leghorn, done of superior marble and in superior style. 

2. Young E. Gerry informed me some time ago that he had en 
gaged a person to write the life of his father, and asked for any 
materials I could furnish. I sent him some letters, but in search 
ing for them, I found two, too precious to be trusted by mail, of 
the date of 1801. Jan. 15. & 20. in answer to one I had written him 
Jan. 26. 99. two years before. It furnishes authentic proof that 
in the X. Y. Z. mission to France, it was the wish of Pickering, 
Marshall, Pinckney and the Federalists of that stamp, to avoid a 
treaty with France and to bring on war, a fact we charged on 
them at the time and this letter proves, and that their X. Y. Z. 
report was cooked up to dispose the people to war. Gerry their 
colleague was not of their sentiment, and this is his statement of 
that transaction. During the 2. years between my letter & his 
answer, he was wavering between Mr. Adams & myself, between 
his attachment to Mr. Adams personally on the one hand, and to 
republicanism on the other ; for he was republican, but timid & 
indecisive. The event of the election of 1800-1. put an end to 
his hesitations. 

3. A letter of mine to judge Johnson & his answer. This con 
veys his views of things, and they are so serious and sound, that 
they are worth your reading. I am sure that in communicating it 
to you, I commit no breach of trust to him ; for he and every one 
knows that I have no political secrets from you ; & from the tenor 
of his letter with respect to yourself, it is evident he would as 
willingly have them known to you as myself. 

You will observe that Mr. Cabell, if the loan bill should pass, 
proposes to come up with Mr. Loyall, probably Mr. Johnson, and 
Genl. Cocke to have a special meeting. This is necessary to 
engage our workmen before they undertake other work for the 
ensuing season. I shall desire him, as soon as the loan bill 
passes the lower house (as we know it will pass the Senate) to 
name a day by mail to yourself to meet us, as reasonable notice 
to all the members is necessary to make the meeting legal. I hope 
you will attend, as the important decision as to the Rotunda may 
depend on it. 

246 THE WRITINGS OF [1823 

Our family is all well and joins in affections to Mrs. Madison 
and yourself. My arm goes on slowly, still in a sling and in 
capable of any use, and will so continue some time yet. Be 
so good as to return the inclosed when read and to be assured of 
my constant and affectionate friendship. 


MONTO. Feb. 21. 23. 

DEAR SIR, The inclosed answers your favor of the 2Qth ult. 
on the value of your lands. I had had great hopes that while in 
your present office you would break up the degrading practice of 
considering the President's house as a general tavern and econo 
mise sffly to come out of it clear of difficulties. I learn the 
contrary with great regret. Your society during the little time I 
have left would have been the chief comfort of my life. Of the 
3. portions into which you have laid off your lands here, I will 
not yet despair but that you may retain that on which your house 
stands. Perhaps you may be able to make an equivalent partial 
sale in Loudon before you can a compleat one here. 

I had flattered myself that a particular and new resource 
would have saved me from my unfortunate engagements for 
W. C. N. 1 but they fail me, and I must sell property to their 

You have had some difficulties and contradiction to struggle 
with in the course of your admn but you will come out of them 
with honor and with the affections of your country. Mine to 
you have been & ever will be constant and warm. 


MO'NTICELLO, March 4, 1823. 

DEAR SIR, I delayed some time the acknowledgment of your 
welcome letter of December loth, on the common lazy principle 
of never doing to-day what we can put off to to-morrow, until 

1 Nicholas. 


it became doubtful whether a letter would find you at Charles 
ton. Learning now that you are at Washington, I will reply to 
some particulars which seem to require it. 

The North American Review is a work I do not take, and 
which is little known in this State, consequently I have never 
seen its observations on your inestimable history, but a reviewer 
can never let a work pass uncensured. He must always make 
himself wiser than his author. He would otherwise think it an 
abdication of his office of censor. On this occasion, he seems to 
have had more sensibility for Virginia than she has for herself ; 
for, on reading the work, I saw nothing to touch our pride or jeal 
ousy, but every expression of respect and good will which truth 
could justify. The family of enemies, whose buzz you appre 
hend, are now nothing. You may learn this at Washington ; 
and their military relation has long ago had the full-voiced con 
demnation of his own State. Do not fear, therefore, these in 
sects. What you write will be far above their grovelling sphere. 
Let me, then, implore you, dear Sir, to finish your history of par 
ties, leaving the time of publication to the state of things you 
may deem proper, but taking especial care that we do not lose it 
altogether. We have been too careless of our future reputation, 
while our tories will omit nothing to place us in the wrong. Be 
sides the five-volumed libel which represents us as struggling for 
office, and not at all to prevent our government from being ad 
ministered into a monarchy, the life of Hamilton is in the hands 
of a man who, to the bitterness of the priest, adds the rancor of 
the fiercest federalism. Mr. Adams' papers, too, and his biogra 
phy, will descend of course to his son, whose pen, you know, is 
pointed, and his prejudices not in our favor. And doubtless other 
things are in preparation, unknown to us. On our part we are 
depending on truth to make itself known, while history is taking 
a contrary set which may become too inveterate for correction. 
Mr. Madison will probably leave something, but I believe, only 
particular passages of our history, and these chiefly confined to 
the period between the dissolution of the old and commencement 
of the new government, which is peculiarly within his know 
ledge. After he joined me in the administration, he had no leis 
ure to write. This, too, was my case. But although I had not 

248 THE WRITINGS OF [1823 

time to prepare anything express, my letters, (all preserved) will 
furnish the daily occurrences and views from my return from 
Europe in 1790, till I retired finally from office. These will 
command more conviction than anything I could have written 
after my retirement ; no day having ever passed during that 
period without a letter to somebody. Written too in the moment, 
and in the warmth and freshness of fact and feeling, they will 
carry internal evidence that what they breathe is genuine. Se 
lections from these, after my death, may come out successively 
as the maturity of circumstances may render their appearance 
seasonable. But multiplied testimony, multiplied views will be 
necessary to give solid establishment to truth. Much is known 
to one which is not known to another, and no one knows every 
thing. It is the sum of individual knowledge which is to make 
up the whole truth, and to give its correct current through future 
time. Then do not, dear Sir, withhold your stock of informa 
tion ; and I would moreover recommend that you trust it not to 
a single copy, nor to a single depository. Leave it not in the 
power of any one person, under the distempered view of an un 
lucky moment, to deprive us of the weight of your testimony, 
and to purchase, by its destruction, the favor of any party or per 
son, as happened with a paper of Dr. Franklin's. 

I cannot lay down my pen without recurring to one of the sub 
jects of my former letter, for in truth there is no danger I appre 
hend so much as the consolidation of our government by the 
noiseless, and therefore unalarming, instrumentality of the su 
preme court. This is the form in which federalism now arrays 
itself, and consolidation is the present principle of distinction 
between republicans and the pseudo-republicans but real federal 
ists. I must comfort myself with the hope that the judges will 
see the importance and the duty of giving their country the only 
evidence they can give of fidelity to its constitution and integrity 
in the administration of its laws ; that is to say, by every one's 
giving his opinion seriatim and publicly on the cases he decides. 
Let him prove by his reasoning that he has read the papers, that 
he has considered the case, that in the application of the law to 
it, he uses his own judgment independently and unbiased by 
party views and personal favor or disfavor. Throw himself in 


every case on God and his country ; both will excuse him for 
error and value him for his honesty. The very idea of cooking 
up opinions in conclave, begets suspicions that something passes 
which fears the public ear, and this, spreading by degrees, must 
produce at some time abridgment of tenure, facility of removal, 
or some other modification which may promise a remedy. For 
in truth there is at this time more hostility to the federal judi 
ciary, than to any other organ of the government. 

I should greatly prefer, as you do, four judges to any greater 
number. Great lawyers are not over abundant, and the multipli 
cation of judges only enables the weak to out-vote the wise, and 
three concurrent opinions out of four give a strong presumption 
of right. 

I cannot better prove my entire confidence in your candor, 
than by the frankness with which I commit myself to you, and 
to this I add with truth, assurances of the sincerity of my great 
esteem and respect. 


MONTICELLO, March 28. 23. 

DEAR SIR, From your letter of prophecies I too have caught 
the spirit of prophecy : for who can withhold looking into futurity, 
on events which are to change the face of the world, and the con 
dition of man throughout it, without indulging himself in the 
effusions of the holy spirit of Delphos ? I may do it the more 
safely, as to my vaticinations I always subjoin the Proviso u that 
nothing unexpected happen to change the predicted course of 
events." If, then, France has invaded Spain, an insurrection im 
mediately takes place in Paris, the Royal family is sent to the 

1 Jefferson also sent a copy of this letter to Monroe, with the following ex 
planation : 

MONTO. Mar. 29. 23. 

DEAR SIR, In answering a letter from Mr. Short I indulged myself in some 
off hand speculns on the present lowering state of Europe, random enough to 
be sure, yet on revising them I thot I would hazard a copy to you on the bare 
possibility that out of them, as we sometimes do from dreams, you might pick 
up some hint worth improving by your own reflection. At any rate the whole 
reverie will lose to you only the few minutes required for it's perusal, and there 
fore I hazard it with the assurance of my constant affectn & respect. 

250 THE WRITINGS OF [1823 

Temple, thence perhaps to the Guillotine ; to the 2. or 300,000 
men able to bear arms in Paris will flock all the young men of the 
nation, born and bred in principles of freedom, and furnish a 
corps d'armee with Orleans, Beauharnais, or Fayette at their 
head ; the army of the Pyrenees catch the same flame and return 
to Paris with their arms in their hands. The Austrian and Prus 
sian armies march to the relief of Louis XVIII, a descendant 
as well as Ferdinand of Henry IV. As soon as their backs are 
turned, an universal insurrection takes place in Germany, Prussia, 
perhaps the Netherlands, thro' all Italy certainly, who besides a 
force sufficient to settle their own governments, can send aids to 
France. Alexander, in the meantime, having dexterously set all 
the South of Europe together by the ears, leaves them the bag to 
hold, and turns his whole force on Turkey, profiting of the oppor 
tunity at length obtained, which never occurred before, and never 
would again. 

In the mean time Great Britain and the U S. prepare for milk 
ing the cow ; and, as friends to all parties, furnish all with cabo 
tage, commerce, manufactures and food. Great Britain particularly 
gets full employment for all her hands, machines and capital ; she 
recovers from her distresses & rises again into prosperity and 
splendour. She goes hand in hand with us in reaping this harvest 
and on fair principles of Neutrality, which it will now be her in 
terest to settle and observe : She joins us too in a guarantee of 
the independance of Cuba, with the consent of Spain, and removes 
thus this bone of contention from between us. We avail ourselves 
of this occasion of a cordial conciliation and friendship with 
Spain, by assuring her of every friendly office which even a par 
tial neutrality will permit, and particularly that, during their strug 
gle, they need fear nothing hostile from us in their colonies, and 
Spain and Portugal wisely relinquish the dependance of all their 
American colonies, on condition they make common cause with 
them in the present conflict. Is not this a handsome string of 
events, which are to give Representative Governments to all 
Europe, and all of which are surely to take place "if nothing 
unexpected happens to change their course " ? It might be 
amusing half a dozen years hence, to review these predictions 
and see how they tally with history. 


I shall receive, with high pleasure, your visit in the Autumn. 
When the time approaches, we must secure a concert between that 
and mine to Bedford to which all times are indifferent. Our Uni 
versity is now compleat to a single building, which, having seen 
the Pantheon, your imagination will readily supply, so as to form 
a good idea of its ultimate appearance. You must bequeath it 
your library, as many others of us propose to do. 

The bone of my arm is well knitted and strong, but the carpal 
bones, having been disturbed, maintain an cedematous swelling 
of the hand and fingers, keeping them entirely helpless and hold 
ing up no definite term for the recovery of their usefulness. I 
am now in the 5th months of this disability. 

Nothing could have carried me through the labor of this long 
letter but the glow of the Pythian inspiration, and I must rest, 
after exhaustion, as that goddess usually did, adding only assur 
ances of my constant and affectionate friendship and respect. 


MONTICELLO, May 3, 1823. 

DEAR GENERAL, I duly received your favor of the 24th ult. 
But I am rendered a slow correspondent by the loss of the use, 
totally of the one, and almost totally of the other wrist, which 
renders writing scarcely and painfully practicable. I learn with 
great satisfaction that wholesome economies have been found, 
sufficient to relieve us from the ruinous necessity of adding an 
nually to our debt by new loans. The deviser of so salutary a 
relief deserves truly well of his country. I shall be glad, too, if 
an additional tax of one-fourth of a dollar a gallon on whiskey 
shall enable us to meet all our engagements with punctuality. 
Viewing that tax as an article in a system of excise, I was once 
glad to see it fall with the rest of the system, which I considered 
as prematurely and unnecessarily introduced. It was evident 
that our existing taxes were then equal to our existing debts. It 
was clearly foreseen also that the surplus from excise would only 
become aliment for useless offices, and would be swallowed in 
idleness by those whom it would withdraw from useful industry. 
Considering it only as a fiscal measure, this was right. But the 

252 THE WRITINGS OF [1823 

prostration of body and mind which the cheapness of this liquor 
is spreading through the mass of our citizens, now calls the atten 
tion of the legislator on a very different principle. One of his 
important duties is as guardian of those who from causes insus 
ceptible of precise definition, cannot take care of themselves. Such 
are infants, maniacs, gamblers, drunkards. The last, as much as 
the maniac, requires restrictive measures to save him from the 
fatal infatuation under which he is destroying his health, his 
morals, his family, and his usefulness to society. One powerful 
obstacle to his ruinous self-indulgence would be a price beyond 
his competence. As a sanatory measure, therefore, it becomes 
one of duty in the public guardians. Yet I do not think it follows 
necessarily that imported spirits should be subjected to similar 
enhancement, until they become as cheap as those made at home. 
A tax on whiskey is to discourage its consumption ; a tax on for 
eign spirits encourages whiskey by removing its rival from com 
petition. The price and present duty throw foreign spirits already 
out of competition with whiskey, and accordingly they are used 
but to a salutary extent. You see no persons besotting themselves 
with imported spirits, wines, liquors, cordials, &c. Whiskey 
claims to itself alone the exclusive office of sot-making. Foreign 
spirits, wines, teas, coffee, segars, salt, are articles of as innocent 
consumption as broadcloths and silks and ought, like them, to 
pay but the average ad valorem duty of other imported comforts. 
All of them are ingredients in our happiness, and the government 
which steps out of the ranks of the ordinary articles of consump 
tion to select and lay under disproportionate burthens a particular 
one, because it is a comfort, pleasing to the taste, or necessary to 
health, and will therefore be bought, is, in that particular, a tyr 
anny. Taxes on consumption like those on capital or income, to 
be just, must be uniform. I do not mean to say that it may not 
be for the general interest to foster for awhile certain infant manu 
factures, until they are strong enough to stand against foreign 
rivals ; but when evident that they will never be so, it is against 
right, to make the other branches of industry support them. 
When it was found that France could not make sugar under 6 h. 
a lb., was it not tyranny to restrain her citizens from importing 
at i h. ? or would it not have been so to have laid a duty of 5 h. 


on the imported ? The permitting an exchange of industries 
with other nations is a direct encouragement of your own, which 
without that, would bring you nothing for your comfort, and 
would of course cease to be produced. 

On the question of the next Presidential election, I am a mere 
looker on. I never permit myself to express an opinion, or to 
feel a wish on the subject. I indulge a single hope only, that 
the choice may fall on one who will be a friend of peace, of 
economy, of the republican principles of our constitution, and of 
the salutary distribution of powers made by that between the 
general and the local governments, to this, I ever add sincere 
prayers for your happiness and prosperity. 


May 31, 23. 

DEAR SIR, On my late return from Bedford I found here your 
three favors of May 9. 13. & . The millet you have been so 
kind as to send me is not yet arrived. Accept my thanks for it as 
well as for the details as to it's culture & produce. I shall turn it 
over to my grandson T. J. Randolph, to whom I have committed 
the management of the whole of my agricultural concerns, in 
which I was never skilful and am now entirely unequal from age 
and debility. He had reed, some seed of the same kind from 
another quarter and had sowed an acre & a half by way of ex 
periment. To this he will add what you are so kind as to send if 
it comes in time. We had heard much of it's great produce & 
particularly in Kentucky. We have also obtained a little of the 
genuine Guinee grass, a plant of great & nutritious produce. 
This too is under trial. Withdrawn entirely from agriculture I 
am equally so from the business of the world & especially from 
political concerns which I trust entirely to the genern of the 
day, without enquiry, or reading but a single newspaper. I shall 
therefore accdg to your permission consign the several valuable 
pamphlets you have sent me to some of our members of Con 
gress or others in power, who may use them to advantage. I am 
sure however I should read your vinegar & pepper letters with 

254 THE WRITINGS OF [1823 

pleasure should you send them on ; for whenever I have been 
confounded in the labyrinth of politics of Pennsylve especially 
I have ever applied to you for their clue & have found my 
self kept right by your informn. I am all alive however to the 
war of Spain & it's atrocious invasion by France. I trust it will 
end in an Universal insurrection of continental Europe & in the 
establmt of representative government in every country of it. 
We surely see the finger of providence in the insanity of France 
which brings on this great consummation. 

I learn from you with great satisfn the details concerning 
your family, and their happy & prosperous progress in life. 
Your own losses by endorsements are heavy indeed. I do not 
know whether you may recollect how loudly my voice was raised 
agt. the establmt of banks in the begng. But like that of Cas 
sandra it was not listened to. I was set down as a madman by 
those who have since been victims to them. I little thought 
then how much I was to suffer by them myself, for I too am 
taken in by endorsements for a friend to the amount of 20,000 D. 
for the payment of which I shall have to make sale of that 
much of my property the ensuing winter. And yet the gen 
eral revoln of fortunes which these instrmns have produced 
seem not at all to have cured our country of this mania. 

Your last letter first enables me to return you the thanks so 
long due & unrendered for the two prints of Bonaparte, being 
the first informn I have reed that they came from you. They 
came to me without the least indicn from what quarter. I went 
to the village of Milton, & enquired of the boatmen, who could 
tell me nothing more than that they were delivered to them for 
me by a person whom they did not know, and the present was so 
magnificent that I really suspected it came from Joseph Bona 
parte or some of the refugee French Generals who were then 
with us. Dr. Watson first suggested that he believed they had 
come from you and that you had never learnt their safe arrival. 
I prayed him on his return to Phila to ascertain the fact, and 
your letter now, for the first time gives me the informn desired. 
I pray you to be assured that nothing but this ignorance could 
so long have withheld my just acknolegmts for this mark of 
your frdshp so splendid & so acceptable. You suppose that 


in some letter of mine an idea is conveyed of dissatsn on my 
part for something mentd. by you on the subject of my religion. 
Certainly no letter of mine to you can ever have expressed such 
an idea. I never heard of any animadversion of yours on my 
religion & I believe that is one of the subjects on which our con- 
versn never turned, and that neither of us ever knew what was 
the religion of the other. On this point I suppose we are both 
equally tolerant & charitable. 

I am far from being in the condn of easy-writing which your 
letter supposes, with 2 crippled wrists, the one scarcely able to 
move my pen, the other to hold my paper. This double misfor 
tune, the one of antr date now aggravated by age, the other 
recent, renders writing so slow & painful that nothing can in 
duce me to approach the writing table but business indispensa 
ble or the irresistible impulse to assure my friends, as I now do 
you, of my constant & affecte frdshp & respect. 


MONTICELLO, June 9. 23. 

DEAR SIR, I received yesterday your favor of the 3ist ult. 
and my Grandson Th : J. R. having set out to Richmond the day 
before I immediately inclosed the papers to him by mail and in 
formed him that I should be ready if thot necessary, to bear testi 
mony to the honble character of our deed, friend, as I knew him. 
I am sorry to learn that you are among the sufferers by his mis 
fortunes. I am dreadfully so, to an amount which will weigh 
heavily on the remr of my life. 

I was much gratified by the visit of your son and formed as 
favorable an opinion of him as it's shortness would permit. I 
hope we shall have our Univty. opened yet in time for him. This 
however must depend on the future acts of the legislature. 
They started the schemes of their Primary schools and university 
at the same time, and as if on the same footing, without consider 
ing that the former required no preliminary expence, the latter 
an immense one, and their supplies of the deficiency they have 
called hitherto by the name of loans, as if the monies of the liter- 

256 THE WRITINGS OF [1823 

ary fund could be more legitimately appropriated. Their last vote 
will compleatly finish the buildings, and whenever they shall de 
clare our annuity liberated from this incumbrance, we shall take 
measures to procure professors and to open the institution. I 
hope they will make this declaration at their next session. We 
can immediately accommodate 200 students, which number I am 
sure will be quickly furnished to overflowing. Every student 
addnal to that number, and I think they will be many, will require 
progressive accommdns to the amount of 300. D. for each until 
we attain our maximum, which the success of the establmt will I 
hope by that time encourage the legislature to furnish, in considn 
of the D. & cents they will add to our circuln as well as to the 
diffusion of science among our citizens. 

I have been gratified lately by hearing that your health was 
improving. The bone of my arm which was fractured, is well 
knitted, but the small bones of the wrist being dislocated at the 
same time, could not be truly replaced, so that it's use will never 
be recovered in any great degree. My health is good, but so 
weakened by age that I can walk but little, but I ride daily & 
with little fatigue. I hope you will continue as long as you wish 
it to enjoy life and health, and pray you to be assured of my con 
stant and sincere frdshp and respect. 


MONTICELLO, June ii, 1823. 

DEAR SIR, Considering that I had not been to Bedford for a 
twelvemonth before, I thought myself singularly unfortunate in 
so timing my journey, as to have been absent exactly at the mo 
ment of your late visit to our neighborhood. The loss, indeed, 
was all my own ; for in these short interviews with you, I gener 
ally get my political compass rectified, learn from you whereabouts 
we are, and correct my course again. In exchange for this, I can 
give you but newspaper ideas, and little indeed of these, for I 
read but a single paper, and that hastily. I find Horace and 
Tacitus so much better writers than the champions of the gazettes, 
that I lay those down to take up these with great reluctance. 


And on the question you propose, whether we can, in any form, 
take a bolder attitude than formerly in favor of liberty, I can give 
you but commonplace ideas. They will be but the widow's mite, 
and offered only because requested. The matter which now em 
broils Europe, the presumption of dictating to an independent 
nation the form of its government, is so arrogant, so atrocious, 
that indignation, as well as moral sentiment, enlists all our partiali 
ties and prayers in favor of one, and our equal execrations against 
the other. I do not know, indeed, whether all nations do not owe 
to one another a bold and open declaration of their sympathies 
with the one party and their detestation of the conduct of the 
other. But farther than this we are not bound to go ; and in 
deed, for the sake of the world, we ought not to increase the 
jealousies, or draw on ourselves the power of this formidable con 
federacy. I have ever deemed it fundamental for the United 
States, never to take active part in the quarrels of Europe. Their 
political interests are entirely distinct from ours. Their mutual 
jealousies, their balance of power, their complicated alliances, 
their forms and principles of government, are all foreign to us. 
They are nations of eternal war. All their energies are expended 
in the destruction of the labor, property and lives of their people. 
On our part, never had a people so favorable a chance of trying 
the opposite system, of peace and fraternity with mankind, and 
the direction of all our means and faculties to the purposes of 
improvement instead of destruction. With Europe we have few 
occasions of collision, and these, with a little prudence and for 
bearance, may be generally accommodated. Of the brethren of 
our own hemisphere, none are yet, or for an age to come will be, 
in a shape, condition, or disposition to war against us. And the 
foothold which the nations of Europe had in either America, is 
slipping from under them, so that we shall soon be rid of their 
neighborhood. Cuba alone seems at present to hold up a speck 
of war to us. Its possession by Great Britain would indeed be 
a great calamity to us. Could we induce her to join us in guar 
anteeing its independence against all the world, except Spain, it 
would be nearly as valuable to us as if it were our own. But 
should she take it, I would not immediately go to war for it ; be 
cause the first war on other accounts will give it to us ; or the 

VOL. X. 17 

258 THE WRITINGS OF [1823 

island will give itself to us, when able to do so. While no duty, 
therefore, calls on us to take part in the present war of Europe, 
and a golden harvest offers itself in reward for doing nothing, 
peace and neutrality seem to be our duty and interest. We may 
gratify ourselves, indeed, with a neutrality as partial to Spain as 
would be justifiable without giving cause of war to her adversary ; 
we might and ought to avail ourselves of the happy occasion of 
procuring and cementing a cordial reconciliation with her, by 
giving assurance of every friendly office which neutrality admits, 
and especially, against all apprehension of our intermeddling in 
the quarrel with her colonies. And I expect daily and confi 
dently to hear of a spark kindled in France, which will employ 
her at home, and relieve Spain from all further apprehensions of 

That England is playing false with Spain cannot be doubted. 
Her government is looking one way and rowing another. It is 
curious to look back a little on past events. During the ascend 
ancy of Bonaparte, the word among the herd of kings, was " sauve 
qui peut" Each shifted for himself, and left his brethren to 
squander and do the same as they could. After the battle of 
Waterloo, and the military possession of France, they rallied and 
combined in common cause, to maintain each other against any 
similar and future danger. And in this alliance, Louis, now 
avowedly, and George, secretly but solidly, were of the contract 
ing parties ; and there can be no doubt that the allies are bound 
by treaty to aid England with their armies, should insurrection 
take place among her people. The coquetry she is now playing 
off between her people and her allies is perfectly understood by 
the latter, and accordingly gives no apprehensions to France, to 
whom it is all explained. The diplomatic correspondence she is 
now displaying, these double papers fabricated merely for exhi 
bition, in which she makes herself talk of morals and principle, as 
if her qualms of conscience would not permit her to go all lengths 
with her Holy Allies, are all to gull her own people. It is a the 
atrical farce, in which the five powers are the actors, England the 
Tartuffe, and her people the dupes. Playing thus so dextrously 
into each others' hands, and their own persons seeming secured, 
they are now looking to their privileged orders. These faithful 


auxiliaries, or accomplices, must be saved. This war is evidently 
that of the general body of the aristocracy, in which England is 
also acting her part. " Save but the Nobles and there shall be 
no war," says she, masking her measures at the same time under 
the form of friendship and mediation, and hypocritically, while a 
party, offering herself as a judge, to betray those whom she is not 
permitted openly to oppose. A fraudulent neutrality, if neutrality 
at all, is all Spain will get from her. And Spain, probably, per 
ceives this, and willingly winks at it rather than have her weight 
thrown openly into the other scale. 

But I am going beyond my text, and sinning against the adage 
of carrying coals to Newcastle. In hazarding to you my crude 
and uninformed notions of things beyond my cognizance, only 
be so good as to remember that it is at your request, and with as 
little confidence on my part as profit on yours. You will do what 
is right, leaving the people of Europe to act their follies and crimes 
among themselves, while we pursue in good faith the paths of 
peace and prosperity. To your judgment we are willingly resigned, 
with sincere assurances of affectionate esteem and respect. 


MONTO. June 13. 23. 

DEAR SIR, I communicated to you a former part of a corres- 
pdce between Judge Johnson of Charleston and myself, chiefly on 
the practice of caucusing opns which is that of the Supreme court 
of the US. but on some other matters also, particularly his history 
of parties. In a late letter he asks me to give him my idea of the 
precise principles & views of the Republicans in their opposn to the 
Feds when that opposn was highest, also my opn of the line divid 
ing the jurisdn of the general & state govmts, mentions a dispute 
between Genl. W.'s frds & Mr. Hamilton as to the authorship of 
their Valedictory, and expresses his concurrce with me on the 
subject of seriatim opns. This last being of primary importance 
I inclose you a copy of my answer to the judge, because if you 
think of it as I do, I suppose your connection with Judge Todd 
& your antient intimacy with Judge Duvel might give you an 


opening to say something to them on the subject. If Johnson 
could be backed by them in the practice, the others would be 
obliged to follow suit and this dangerous engine of consolidn 
would feel a proper restraint by their being compelled to explain 
publicly the grounds of their opinions. What I have stated as 
the Valedictory, is accdg to my recollection ; if you find any error 
it shall be corrected in another letter. When you shall have read 
the inclosed be so good as to return it, as I have no other copy. 

The literary board have advanced 40,000 D. and will retain 
the balance for us as requested until the end of the year, and the 
building is going on rapidly. Ever & affectly. yours. 


MONTICELLO, June 23, 1823. 

DEAR SIR, I have been lately visited by a Mr. Miralla, a na 
tive of Buenos Ayres, but resident in Cuba for the last seven or 
eight years ; a person of intelligence, of much information, and 
frankly communicative. I believe, indeed, he is known to you. 
I availed myself of the opportunity of learning what was the 
state of public sentiment in Cuba as to their future course. He 
says they should be satisfied to remain as they are ; but all are 
sensible that that cannot be ; that whenever circumstances shall 
render a separation from Spain necessary, a perfect independance 
would be their choice, provided they could see a certainty of 
protection ; but that, without that prospect, they would be di 
vided in opinion between an incorporation with Mexico, and 
with the United States. Columbia being too remote for prompt 
support. The considerations in favor of Mexico are that the 
Havana would be the emporium for all the produce of that im 
mense and wealthy country, and of course, the medium of all its 
commerce ; that having no ports on its eastern coast, Cuba would 
become the depot of its naval stores and strength, and, in effect, 
would, in a great measure, have the sinews of the government in 
its hands. That in favor of the United States is the fact that 
three-fourths of the exportations from Havana come to the 
United States, that they are a settled government, the power 


which can most promptly succor them, rising to an eminence 
promising future security ; and of which they would make a 
member of the sovereignty, while as to England, they would be 
only a colony, subordinated to her interest, and that there is not 
a man in the island who would not resist her to the bitterest ex 
tremity. Of this last sentiment I had not the least idea at the 
date of my late letters to you. I had supposed an English in 
terest there quite as strong as that of the United States, and 
therefore, that, to avoid war, and keep the island open to our 
own commerce, it would be best to join that power in mutually 
guaranteeing its independence. But if there is no danger of its 
falling into the possession of England, I must retract an opinion 
founded on an error of fact. We are surely under no obligation 
to give her, gratis, an interest which she has not ; and the whole 
inhabitants being averse to her, and the climate mortal to strang 
ers, its continued military occupation by her would be impractic 
able. It is better then to lie still in readiness to receive that 
interesting incorporation when solicited by herself. For, cer 
tainly, her addition to our confederacy is exactly what is wanting 
to round our power as a nation to the point of its utmost interest. 
I have thought it my duty to acknowledge my error on this 
occasion, and to repeat a truth before acknowledged, that, re 
tired as I am, I know too little of the affairs of the world to form 
opinions of them worthy of any attention ; and I resign myself 
with reason, and perfect confidence to the care and guidance of 
those to whom the helm is committed. With this assurance, ac 
cept that of my constant and affectionate friendship and respect. 


MONTICELLO, August 2, 1823. 

DEAR SIR, A recent illness, from which I am just recovering, 
obliges me to borrow the pen of a granddaughter to acknow 
ledge the receipt of your welcome favor, of June 29, from New 
York. I read it with great satisfaction. Occasional views, to be 
relied on, of the complicated affairs of Europe are like a good 
observation at sea, which tells one where they are, after wander- 


ing through the newspapers till they are bewildered. I keep my 
eye on the cortes as my index, and judge of everything by their 
position and proceedings. I do not readily despair of Spain. 
Their former example proved them, and the cause is the same, 
their constitutional cortes and king. At any rate I despair not 
of Europe. The advance of mind which has taken place every 
where cannot retrograde, and the advantages of representative 
government exhibited in England and America, and recently in 
other countries, will procure its establishment everywhere in a 
more or less perfect form ; and this will insure the amelioration 
of the condition of the world. It will cost years of blood, and 
be well worth them. 

Here you will not immediately see into our political condition 
which you once understood so well. It is not exactly what it 
seems to be. You will be told that parties are now all amal 
gamated ; the wolf now dwells with the lamb, and the leopard 
lies down with the kid. It is true that Federalism has changed 
its name and hidden itself among us. Since the Hartford Con 
vention it is deemed even by themselves a name of reproach. 
In some degree, too, they have varied their object. To mon- 
archize this nation they see is impossible ; the next best thing 
in their view is to consolidate it into one government as a pre 
mier pas to monarchy. The party is now as strong as it ever has 
been since 1800. ; and, though mixed with us, are to be known 
by their rallying together on every question of power in a general 
government. The judges, as before, are at their head, and are 
their entering wedge. Young men are more easily seduced into 
this principle than the old one of monarchy. But you will soon 
see into this disguise. Your visit to this place would indeed be 
a day of jubilee : but your age and distance forbid the hope. 
Be this as it will, I shall love you forever, and rejoice in your 
rejoicing, and sympathize in your evils. God bless you and 
have you ever in his holy keeping. 



MONTICELLO Aug. 2. 23. 

DEAR SIR, I agree with you in all the definitions of your favor 
of July 22. of the qualificns necessary for the chair of the US. 
and I add another. He ought to be disposed rigorously to 
maintain the line of power marked by the constitution between 
the two co-ordinate governments, each sovereign & independant 
in it's department, the states as to everything relating to them 
selves and their state, the General government as to everything 
relating to things or persons out of a particular state. The one 
may be strictly called the Domestic branch of government 
which is sectional but sovereign, the other the foreign branch 
of government co-ordinate with the other domestic & equally 
sovereign on it's own side of the line. The federalists, baffled 
in their schemes to monarchise us, have given up their name, 
which the Hartford Convention had made odious, and have 
taken shelter among us and under our name. But they have not 
only changed the point of attack. On every question of the 
usurpation of State powers by the Foreign or Genl govmt, the 
same men rally together, force the line of demarcation and con 
solidate the government. The judges are at their head as here 
tofore, and are their entering wedge. The true old republicans 
stand to the line, and will I hope die on it if necessary. Let our 
next president be aware of this new party principle and firm in 
maintaining the constitutional line of demarcation. But agreeing 
in your principles, I am not sufficiently acquainted with the 
numerous candidates to apply them personally. With one I have 
had a long acquaintance, but little intimate because little in 
political unison. With another a short but more favorable 
acquaintance because always in unison. With others merely 
a personal recognition. Thus unqualified to judge, I am equally 
indisposed in my state of retirement, at my age and last stage of 
debility. I ought not to quit the port in which I am quietly 
moored to commit myself again to the stormy ocean of political 
or party contest, to kindle new enmities, and lose old friends. 
No, my dear sir, tranquility is the summum bonum of old age, 
and there is a time when it is a duty to leave the government 

264 THE WRITINGS OF [1823 

of the world to the existing generation, and to repose one's self 
under their protecting hand. That time is come with me, and 
I welcome it. A recent illness from which I am just recovered 
obliges me to borrow the pen of a granddaughter to say these 
things to you, to assure you of my continued esteem and respect, 
and to request you to recall me to the friendly recollections of 
Mrs. Smith. 1 


MONTICELLO Aug. I?. 23. 

DEAR SIR, I reed, yesterday your favor of the nth. It re 
ferred to something said to be inclosed, without saying what, 
and, in fact nothing was inclosed. But the preceding mail had 
brot me the Nat. Intell. of the yth & pth in which was a very 
able discussion on the mode of electing our President signed 
Phocion. This I suspect is what your letter refers to. If I am 
right in this conjecture, I have no hesitation in saying that I 
have ever considered the constitutional mode of election ulti 
mately by the legislature voting by states as the most dangerous 
blot in our constn, and one which some unlucky chance will 
some day hit, and give us a pope & anti-pope. I looked there- 

1 Of this letter Jefferson later wrote to Smith : 

MONTO Dec. 19. 23. 

Do not for the world, my dear Sir, suffer my letter of Aug. 2. to get before 
the public, nor to go out of your own hands or to be copied. I am always 
averse to the publication of my letters because I wish to be at rest, retired & 
unnoticed. But most especially this letter. I never meant to meddle in a 
Presidential election, and in a letter to a person in N. Y. written after the 
date of the one to you I declared that I would take no part in the ensuing one 
and permitted him to publish the letter. A thousand improprieties, indelica 
cies & considns of friendship strongly felt by myself, forbid it. I am glad 
you did not name to me those to whom you had thought to give a copy, be 
cause not knowing who they are my unwillingness cannot be felt by any as 
proceeding from a want of personal confidence, but truly from the motives 
above stated. I hope the choice will fall on some real republican, who will 
continue the admn on the express principles of the constn unadulterated by con 
structions reducing it to a blank to be filled with what every one pleases and 
what never was intended. With this I shall be contented. Accept for your 
self & Mrs. Smith the assurances of my affectionate esteem & respect. 


fore with anxiety to the amendment proposed by Colo. Taylor at 
the last session of Congress, which I thought would be a good 
substitute, if on an equal division of the electors after a 2d appeal 
to them the ultimate decision between the two highest had been 
given by it to the legislature voting per capita. But the states 
are now so numerous that I despair of ever seeing another 
amdmt to the constn, altho the innovns of time will certainly 
call and now already call for some, and especially the smaller 
states are so numerous as to render desperate every hope of 
obtaining a sufficient proportion of them in favor of Phocion's 
proposition. Another general convention can alone relieve us. 
What then is the best palliative of the evil in the mean time ? 
Another short question points to the answer. Would we rather 
the choice should be made by the legislature voting in Congress 
by states, or in Caucus per capita ? The remedy is indeed bad, 
but the disease worse ! 

But I have long since withdrawn from attention to political 
affairs. Age & debility render me unequal and disinclined to 
them, and two crippled wrists to the use of the pen. Peace with 
all the world and a quiet descent thro' the remainder of my time 
are now so necessary to my happiness that I am unwilling by the 
expression of any opinion before the public to rekindle antient 
animosities, covered under their ashes indeed but not extin 
guished. Yet altho' weaned from politics, I am not so from the 
love of my friends, and to yourself particularly I can give assur 
ance with truth of my constant, and cordial affection & respect. 


MONTICELLO Aug. 29. 23. 

DEAR SIR, On receipt of your former letter of May 31. I com 
municated it to my gr. son Jefferson Randolph. On considn 
of the subject he was induced to think that the vindicn of 
Mr. W. C. N.'s character, if it needed it at all would be particu 
larly incumbent on his brother Mr. Norborne Nicholas and would 
in his be in more competent hands. He therefore communicated 
the Ire to him, and referred to him to act on it, as he should 
think best. Your last letter of July 29 came to my hands of the 

266 THE WRITINGS OF [1823 

2ist inst. only. Jefferson was then absent on a journey so that 
I did not see him till the evening of the 27th when I communi 
cated to him this letter also. He observed to me that having 
referred the whole matter to Mr. N. Nicholas he was unwilling 
to meddle with it at all. I therefore went on the 28th (yester 
day) to Charlsvl. at the hour prescribed & found there Mr 
Pollard with his counsel Mr. Dyer, but no magistrates. I had 
written my answers to your interrogatories & shewed them to the 
gentlemen, asking of Mr. Pollard if (as no magistrates attended) 
he would suffer them to be read by consent. He said he should 
do whatever his counsel advised. I then asked his counsel, who 
answered that they could consent to nothing, at the same time 
acknoleging that the answers were such as every man would give 
who knew anything of Colo. Nicholas. We parted therefore re 
infecta. Reflecting however, on my return home, I became 
sensible that you must have depended either on Jef. Randolph 
or myself for procuring magistrates and was mortified that, on 
their refusing consent, it did not occur to me on the instant, to 
go out and hunt up a couple of magistrates. I therefore returned 
to Charlesvl early this morning, found Mr. Pollard still there, 
went out & procured the attendee of 2 magistrates, and the 
deposn was taken, and is in the letter I now enclose for the 
clerk of your court. That you may know what it is I return you 
your interrogatories with the answers I gave to them & those of 
the other party with the answers to them also which I scribbled 
on my knee. These were copied verbatim into the deposn with 
out a word more or less : this will explain to you why the depo 
sition has been taken this day instead of yesterday and with 
every wish which friendship can inspire for your happy issue out 
of this entanglement, I give assurances of my constant and un 
changeable affection & respect. 


MONTICELLO, August 30, 1823. 

DEAR SIR, I received the enclosed letters from the President 
with a request, that after perusal I would forward them to you 
for perusal by yourself also, and to be returned then to him. 

1 8a 3 ] THOMAS JEFFERSON. 267 

You have doubtless seen Timothy Pickering's fourth of July 
observations on the Declaration of Independence. If his princi 
ples and prejudices, personal and political, gave us no reason to 
doubt whether he had truly quoted the information he alleges to 
have received from Mr. Adams, I should then say, that in some 
of the particulars, Mr. Adams' memory has led him into unques 
tionable error. At the age of eighty-eight, and forty-seven years 
after the transactions of Independence, this is not wonderful. 
Nor should I, at the age of eighty, on the small advantage of 
that difference only, venture to oppose my memory to his, were 
it not supported by written notes, taken by myself at the mo 
ment and on the spot. He says, " the committee of five, to wit, 
Dr. Franklin, Sherman, Livingston, and ourselves, met, discussed 
the subject, and then appointed him and myself to make the 
draught ; that we, as a sub-committee, met, and after the urgen 
cies of each on the other, I consented to undertake the task ; that 
the draught being made, we, the sub-committee, met, and conned 
the paper over, and he does not remember that he made or sug 
gested a single alteration." Now these details are quite incor 
rect. The committee of five met ; no such thing as a sub-com 
mittee was proposed, but they unanimously pressed on myself 
alone to undertake the draught. I consented ; I drew it ; but be 
fore I reported it to the committee, I communicated it separately 
to Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams, requesting their corrections, be 
cause they were the two members of whose judgments and 
amendments I wished most to have the benefit, before presenting 
it to the committee ; and you have seen the original paper now 
in my hands, with the corrections of Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams 
interlined in their own hand writings. Their alterations were 
two or three only, and merely verbal. I then wrote a fair copy, 
reported it to the committee, and from them, unaltered, to Con 
gress. This personal communication and consultation with Mr. 
Adams, he has misremembered into the actings of a sub-commit 
tee. Pickering's observations, and Mr. Adams' in addition, " that 
it contained no new ideas, that it is a common-place compilation, 
its sentiments hacknied in Congress for two years before, and its 
essence contained in Otis' pamphlet," may all be true. Of that 
I am not to be the judge. Richard Henry Lee charged it as 

268 THE WRITINGS OF [1823 

copied from Locke's treatise on government. Otis' pamphlet I 
never saw, and whether I had gathered my ideas from reading 
or reflection I do not know. I know only that I turned to neither 
book nor pamphlet while writing it. I did not consider it as 
any part of my charge to invent new ideas altogether, and to of 
fer no sentiment which had ever been expressed before. Had 
Mr. Adams been so restrained, Congress would have lost the 
benefit of his bold and impressive advocations of the rights of 
Revolution. For no man's confident and fervid addresses, more 
than Mr. Adams', encouraged and supported us through the diffi 
culties surrounding us, which, like the ceaseless action of gravity 
weighed on us by night and by day. Yet, on the same ground, 
we may ask what of these elevated thoughts was new, or can be 
affirmed never before to have entered the conceptions of man ? 

Whether, also, the sentiments of Independence, and the reasons 
for declaring it, which make so great a portion of the instrument, 
had been hackneyed in Congress for two years before the 4th of 
July, '76, or this dictum also of Mr. Adams be another slip of me 
mory, let history say. This, however, I will say for Mr. Adams, 
that he supported the Declaration with zeal and ability, fighting 
fearlessly for every word of it. As to myself, I thought it a duty 
to be, on that occasion, a passive auditor of the opinions of others, 
more impartial judges than I could be, of its merits or demerits. 
During the debate I was sitting by Doctor Franklin, and he ob 
served that I was writhing a little under the acrimonious criti 
cisms on some of its parts ; and it was on that occasion, that by 
way of comfort, he told me the story of John Thompson, the 
hatter, and his new sign. 

Timothy thinks the instrument the better for having a fourth 
of it expunged. He would have thought it still better, had the 
other three-fourths gone out also, all but the single sentiment 
(the only one he approves), which recommends friendship to his 
dear England, whenever she is willing to be at peace with us. 
His insinuations are, that although " the high tone of the instru 
ment was in unison with the warm feelings of the times, this 
sentiment of habitual friendship to England should never be for 
gotten, and that the duties it enjoins should especially be borne 
in mind on every celebration of this anniversary." In other 


words, that the Declaration, as being a libel on the government 
of England, composed in times of passion, should now be buried 
in utter oblivion, to spare the feelings of our English friends and 
Angloman fellow-citizens. But it is not to wound them that we 
wish to keep it in mind ; but to cherish the principles of the in 
strument in the bosoms of our own citizens : and it is a heavenly 
comfort to see that these principles are yet so strongly felt, as to 
render a circumstance so trifling as this little lapse of memory 
of Mr. Adams, worthy of being solemnly announced and sup 
ported at an anniversary assemblage of the nation on its birth- 
day. In opposition, however, to Mr. Pickering, I pray God that 
these principles may be eternal, and close the prayer with my 
affectionate wishes for yourself of long life, health and happiness. 


MONTICELLO, September 4, 1823. 

DEAR SIR, Your letter of August the i5th was 
received in due time, and with the welcome of every 
thing which comes from you. With its opinions on 
the difficulties of revolutions from despotism to free 
dom, I very much concur. The generation which com 
mences a revolution rarely completes it. Habituated 
from their infancy to passive submission of body and 
mind to their kings and priests, they are not qualified 
when called on to think and provide for themselves ; 
and their inexperience, their ignorance and bigotry 
make them instruments often, in the hands of the 
Bonapartes and Iturbides, to defeat their own rights 
and purposes. This is the present situation of Eu 
rope and Spanish America. But it is not desperate. 
The light which has been shed on mankind by the 
art of printing, has eminently changed the condition 

270 THE WRITINGS OF [1823 

of the world. As yet, that light has dawned on the 
middling classes only of the men in Europe. The 
kings and the rabble, of equal ignorance, have not 
yet received its rays ; but it continues to spread, and 
while printing is preserved, it can no more recede 
than the sun return on his course. A first attempt 
to recover the right of self-government may fail, so 
may a second, a third, &c. But as a younger and 
more instructed race comes on, the sentiment be 
comes more and more intuitive, and a fourth, a fifth, 
or some subsequent one of the ever renewed attempts 
will ultimately succeed. In France, the first effort 
was defeated by Robespierre, the second by Bona 
parte, the third by Louis XVIII. and his holy allies : 
another is yet to come, and all Europe, Russia ex- 
cepted, has caught the spirit ; and all will attain re 
presentative government, more or less perfect. This 
is now well understood to be a necessary check on 
kings, whom they will probably think it more pru 
dent to chain and tame, than to exterminate. To 
attain all this, however, rivers of blood must yet flow, 
and years of desolation pass over ; yet the object is 
worth rivers of blood, and years of desolation. For 
what inheritance so valuable, can man leave to his 
posterity ? The spirit of the Spaniard, and his deadly 
and eternal hatred to a Frenchman, give me much 
confidence that he will never submit, but finally de 
feat this atrocious violation of the laws of God and 
man, under which he is suffering ; and the wisdom 
and firmness of the Cortes, afford reasonable hope, 
that that nation will settle down in a temperate re- 


preservative government, with an executive properly 
subordinated to that. Portugal, Italy, Prussia, Ger 
many, Greece, will follow suit. You and I shall look 
down from another world on these glorious achieve 
ments to man, which will add to the joys even of 

I observe your toast of Mr. Jay on the 4th of July, 
wherein you say that the omission of his signature to 
the Declaration of Independence was by accident. Our 
impressions as to this fact being different, I shall be 
glad to have mine corrected, if wrong. Jay, you 
know, had been in constant opposition to our labor 
ing majority. Our estimate at the time was, that he, 
Dickinson and Johnson of Maryland, by their inge 
nuity, perseverance and partiality to our English 
connection, had constantly kept us a year behind 
where we ought to have been in our preparations 
and proceedings. From about the date of the Vir 
ginia instructions of May the i5th, 1776, to declare 
Independence, Mr. Jay absented himself from Con 
gress, and never came there again until December, 
1 778. Of course, he had no part in the discussions or 
decision of that question. The instructions to their 
Delegates by the Convention of New York, then sit 
ting, to sign the Declaration, were presented to Con 
gress on the 1 5th of July only, and on that day the 
journals show the absence of Mr. Jay, by a letter re 
ceived from him, as they had done as early as the 
29th of May by another letter. And I think he had 
been omitted by the convention on a new election of 
Delegates, when they changed their instructions. 

272 THE WRITINGS OF [1823 

Of this last fact, however, having no evidence but an 
ancient impression, I shall not affirm it. But whether 
so or not, no agency of accident appears in the case. 
This error of fact, however, whether yours or mine, 
is of little consequence to the public. But truth being 
as cheap as error, it is as well to rectify it for our own 

I have had a fever of about three weeks, during 
the last and preceding month, from which I am en 
tirely recovered except as to strength. 


MONTICELLO, October 12, 1823. 

DEAR SIR, I do not write with the ease which 
your letter of September the i8th supposes. Crip 
pled wrists and fingers make writing slow and labori 
ous. But while writing to you, I lose the sense of 
these things in the recollection of ancient times, when 
youth and health made happiness out of everything. 
I forget for a while the hoary winter of age, when we 
can think of nothing but how to keep ourselves warm, 
and how to get rid of our heavy hours until the 
friendly hand of death shall rid us of all at once. 
Against this tedium vitce, however, I am fortunately 
mounted on a hobby, which, indeed, I should have 
better managed some thirty or forty years ago ; but 
whose easy amble is still sufficient to give exercise 
and amusement to an octogenary rider. This is 
the establishment of a University, on a scale more 
comprehensive, and in a country more healthy and 


central than our old William and Mary, which these 
obstacles have long kept in a state of languor and 
inefficiency. But the tardiness with which such 
works proceed, may render it doubtful whether I 
shall live to see it go into action. 

Putting aside these things, however, for the pre 
sent, I write this letter as due to a friendship coeval 
with our government, and now attempted to be 
poisoned, when too late in life to be replaced by 
new affections. I had for sometime observed in the 
public papers, dark hints and mysterious inuendoes 
of a correspondence of yours with a friend, to whom 
you had opened your bosom without reserve, and 
which was to be made public by that friend or his 
representative. And now it is said to be actually 
published. It has not yet reached us, but extracts 
have been given, and such as seemed most likely to 
draw a curtain of separation between you and myself. 
Were there no other motive than that of indignation 
against the author of this outrage on private confi 
dence, whose shaft seems to have been aimed at 
yourself more particularly, this would make it the 
duty of every honorable mind to disappoint that aim, 
by opposing to its impression a seven-fold shield of 
apathy and insensibility. With me, however, no such 
armor is needed. The circumstances of the times in 
which we have happened to live, and the partiality 
of our friends at a particular period, placed us in a 
state of apparent opposition, which some might sup 
pose to be personal also ; and there might not be 
wanting those who wished to make it so, by filling 

274 THE WRITINGS OF [1823 

our ears with malignant falsehoods, by dressing up 
hideous phantoms of their own creation, presenting 
them to you under my name, to me under yours, and 
endeavoring to instil into our minds things concern 
ing each other the most destitute of truth. And if 
there had been, at any time, a moment when we were 
off our guard, and in a temper to let the whispers of 
these people make us forget what we had known of 
each other for so many years, and years of so much 
trial, yet all men who have attended to the workings 
of the human mind, who have seen the false colors 
under which passion sometimes dresses the actions 
and motives of others, have seen also those passions 
subsiding with time and reflection, dissipating like 
mists before the rising sun, and restoring to us the 
sight of all things in their true shape and colors. It 
would be strange indeed, if, at our years, we were to 
go back an age to hunt up imaginary or forgotten 
facts, to disturb the repose of affections so sweeten 
ing to the evening of our lives. Be assured, my dear 
Sir, that I am incapable of receiving the slightest 
impression from the effort now made to plant thorns 
on the pillow of age, worth and wisdom, and to sow 
tares between friends who have been such for near 
half a century. Beseeching you then, not to suffer 
your mind to be disquieted by this wicked attempt to 
poison its peace, and praying you to throw it by 
among the things which have never happened, I add 
sincere assurances of my unabated and constant at 
tachment, friendship and respect. 



MONTICELLO Oct. 1 8. 23. 

DEAR SIR, I return you Mr. Coxe's letter which has cost me 
much time at two or three different attempts to decypherit. Had 
I such a correspondent I should certainly admonish him that if 
he would not so far respect my time as to write to me legibly, I 
should so far respect it myself as not to waste it in decomposing 
and recomposing his hieroglyphics. 

The jarrings between the friends of Hamilton and Pickering 
will be of advantage to the cause of truth. It will denudate the 
monarchism of the former and justify our opposition to him, and 
the malignity of the latter which nullifies his testimony in all 
cases which his passion can discolor. God bless you, and pre 
serve you many years. 


MONTICELLO, Oct. 19. 23. 

DEAR SIR, I forward you the inclosed letter on the same 
ground on which it is addressed to me, and not that Duane has 
any moral claims on us. His defection from the republican ranks, 
his transition to the Federalists, and giving triumph, in an import 
ant state, to wrong over right, have dissolved, of his own seeking, 
his connection with us. Yet the energy of his press, when our 
cause was laboring, and all but lost, under the overwhelming 
weight of it's powerful adversaries, it's unquestionable effect in 
the revolution produced in the public mind, which arrested the 
rapid march of our government towards monarchy, overweigh in 
fact the demerit of his desertion, when we had become too strong 
to suffer from it sensibly. He is in truth the victim of passions 
which his principles were not strong enough to controul. Altho 
therefore we are not bound to clothe him with the best robe, to 
put a ring on his finger, and to kill the fatted calf for him, yet 
neither should we leave him to eat husks with the swine. His 
advocate may look too high when he talks of the Post office ; but 
if some more secondary birth should be vacant (as Depy collec 
tor, Inspector, Nav. officer) something which would feed and 

276 THE WRITINGS OF [1825 

cover him decently, I am persuaded it would be a gratification to 
the old republicans, who do not feel that all he has done is can 
celled by one false step. As to any particular demerits towards 
yourself, without recollecting them, I am sure you were above 
their infliction, & the more so as he was then fighting openly in 
the ranks of the enemy. But all this is left to your own feelings 
and reflection, being written only 'ut valeat quantum valere 
potest.' Dios guarde a Vm muchos anos. 1 

1 Jefferson later wrote to Monroe : 

MONTO. July 2. 24. 

DEAR SIR, I took the liberty some time last fall of placing Mr. Duane 
under your notice, should anything occur adapted to his qualifns and to his 
situation which I understood to be needy in the extreme. His talents and 
informn are certainly great, and the services he rendered us when we needed 
them and his personal sacrifices and sufferings were signal and efficacious and 
left on us a moral duty not to forget him under misfortune. His subsequent 
aberrations were after we were too strong to be injured by them. I have lately 
reed, a letter from him, which I inclose because it will better shew his pro 
spects of distress and anxieties for relief than anything I could say. Whether 
the latter may too much influence his reasonable hopes, you are the proper 
judge. If they do, his former merits will still claim a recollection on any 
proper occasion which may occur. I perform a duty in communicating his 
wish, yours will be to weigh it's relations to the public service. I congratulate 
you on the return of repose after a campaign so agitating as the late one. Your 
nephew who was so kind as to call on me a day or two ago, gave me hopes we 
should see you here. During the summer or early autumn I have a visit to 
Bedford in contempln, the time of which is quite immaterial, and could I pre 
viously know when that of your visit to Albermarle will probably be, 1 should 
so arrange mine as not to miss the pleasure of seeing you here. I salute you 
with sincere & affectionate respect. 

He also wrote to Duane : 

MONTICELLO May 31. 24. 

DEAR SIR, I received a few days ago a pamphlet on the subject of America, 
England and the Holy alliance, and read it with unusual interest and concur 
rence of opn. It furnished a simple and satisfy key for the solution of all the 
riddles of British conduct & policy. While considering and conjecturing who 
could be its author, I happened to cast my eye on the few words of superscrip 
tion, and th5t the handwriting not unknown to me. I turned to my letters of 
correspdce. and found it's tally which left me no longer at a loss to whom my 
thanks should be addressed, and to return these thanks is the object of this 
letter. In Nov. last I received a letter from some friend of yours who chose to 
be anonymous, suggesting that your situation might be bettered and the govern- 



MONTICELLO, October 24, 1823. 

DEAR SIR, The question presented by the letters you have 
sent me, is the most momentous which has ever beea offered to 
my contemplation sjnce that of Independence.^ That made us > 
nation, this sets our compass and points the course which we are 
to steer through the ocean of time opening on us. And never 
could we embark on it under circumstances more auspicious. 
Our first and fundamental maxim should be, never to entangle 
ourselves in the broils of Europe. Our second, never to suffer 
Europe to intermeddle with cis-Atlantic affairs. America, North 
and South, has a set of interests distinct from those of Europe, 
and peculiarly her own. She should therefore have a system of 
her own, separate and apart from that of Europe. While the last 
is laboring to become the domicil of despotism, our endeavor 
should surely be, to make our hemisphere that of freedom. One 
nation, most of all, could disturb us in this pursuit ; she now 
offers to lead, aid, and accompany us in it. By acceding to her 
proposition, we detach her from the bands, bring her mighty 
weight into the scale of free government, and emancipate a con 
tinent at one stroke, which might otherwise Linger long in doubt 
and difficulty. Great Britain is the nation which can do us the 
most harm of any one, or all on earth ; and with her on our Md 
we need not fear the whole world. With her then, we should 
most sedulously cherish a cordial Iriend ship ; and nothing would 
tend more to knit our affections than to be fighting once more, 
side by side, in the same cause. Not that I would purchase even 
her amity at the price of taking part in her wars. But the war 

ment advantaged by availing itself of your services in some line. I immediately 
wrote to a friend whose situation enabled him to attend to this. I have received 
no answer but hope it is kept in view. I am long since withdrawn from the 
political world, think little, read less, and know all but nothing of what is 
going on ; but I have not forgotten the past nor those who were fellow-laborers 
in the gloomy hours of federal ascendancy when the spirit of republicanism was 
beaten down, its votaries arraigned as criminals, and such threats denounced as 
posterity would never believe. My means of service are slender ; but such as 
they are, if you can make them useful to you in any sollicitn. they shall be 
sincerely employed. In the mean time, I assure you my continued frdshp & 

278 THE WRITINGS OF [182$ 

in which the present proposition might engage us, should that 
be its consequence, is not her war, but ours. Its object is to 
introduce and establish the American system, of keeping out of 
our land all foreign powers, of never permitting those of Europe 
to intermeddle with the affairs of our nations. It is to maintain 
our own principle, not to depart from it. And if, to facilitate 
this, we can effect a division in the body of the European powers, 
and draw over to our side its most powerful member, surely we 
should do it. But I am clearly of Mr. Canning's opinion, that 
it will prevent instead of provoking war. With Great Britain 
withdrawn from their scale and shifted into that of our two con 
tinents, all Europe combined would not undertake such a war. 
For how would they propose to get at either enemy without su 
perior fleets ? Nor is the occasion to be slighted which this 
proposition offers, of declaring our protest against the atrocious 
violations of the rights of nations, by the interference of any one 
in the internal affairs of another, so flagitiously begun by Bona 
parte, and now continued by the equally lawless Alliance, calling 
itself Holy. 

But we have first to ask ourselves a question. Do we wish to 
acquire to our own confederacy any one or more of the Spanish 
provinces ? I candidly confess, that I have ever looked on Cuba 
as the most interesting addition which could ever be made to our 
system of States. The control which, with Florida Point, this 
island would give us over the Gulf of Mexico, and the countries 
and isthmus bordering on it, as well as all those whose waters 
flow into it, would fill up the measure of our political well-being. 
Yet, as I am sensible that this can never be obtained, even with 
her own consent, but by war ; and its independence, which is our 
second interest, (and especially its independence of England,) can 
be secured without it, I have no hesitation in abandoning my first 
wish to future chances, and accepting its independence, with 
peace and the friendship of England, rather than its association, 
at the expense of war and her enmity. 

I could honestly, therefore, join in the declaration proposed, 
that we aim not at the acquisition of any of those possessions, 
that we will not stand in the way of any amicable arrangement 
between them and the mother country ; but that we will oppose, 


with all our means, the forcible interposition of any other power, 
as auxiliary, stipendiary, or under any other form or pretext, and 
most especially, their transfer to any power by conquest, cession, 
or acquisition in any other way. I should think it, therefore, 
advisable, that the Executive should encourage the British gov 
ernment to a continuance in the dispositions expressed in these 
letters, by an assurance of his concurrence with them as far as his 
authority goes ; and that as it may lead to war, the declaration of 
which requires an act of Congress, the case shall be laid before 
them for consideration at their first meeting, and under the rea 
sonable aspect in which it is seen by himself. 

I have been so long weaned from political subjects, and have 
so long ceased to take any interest in them, that I am sensible I 
am not qualified to offer opinions on them worthy of any atten 
tion. But the question now proposed involves consequences so 
lasting, and effects so decisive of our future destinies, as to re 
kindle all the interest I have heretofore felt on such occasions, 
and to induce me to the hazard of opinions, which will prove 
only my wish to contribute still my mite towards anything which 
may be useful to our country. And praying you to accept it at 
only what it is worth, I add the assurance of my constant and 
affectionate friendship and respect. 


MONTICELLO, November 4, 1823. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, Two dislocated wrists and crip 
pled fingers have rendered writing so slow and labor- 
rious, as to oblige me to withdraw from nearly all 
correspondence ; not however, from yours, while I 
can make a stroke with a pen. We have gone 
through too many trying scenes together, to forget 
the sympathies and affections they nourished. 

Your trials have indeed been long and severe. 
When they will end, is yet unknown, but where they 

a8o THE WRITINGS OF [1823 

will end, cannot be doubted. Alliances, Holy or 
Hellish, may be formed, and retard the epoch of 
deliverance, may swell the rivers of blood which are 
yet to flow, but their own will close the scene, and 
leave to mankind the right of self-government. I 
trust that Spain will prove, that a nation cannot be 
conquered which determines not to be so, and that 
her success will be the turning of the tide of liberty, 
no more to be arrested by human efforts. Whether 
the state of society in Europe can bear a republican 
government, I doubted, you know, when with you, 
and I do now. A hereditary chief, strictly limited, 
the right of war vested in the legislative body, a rigid 
economy of the public contributions, and absolute in 
terdiction of all useless expenses, will go far towards 
keeping the government honest and unoppressive.- 
But the only security of all is in a free press. The 
force of public opinion cannot be resisted, when per 
mitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it pro 
duces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep 
the waters pure. 

We are all, for example, in agitation even in our 
peaceful country. For in peace as well as in war, the 
mind must be kept in motion. Who is to be the next 
President, is the topic here of every conversation. 
My opinion on that subject is what I expressed to 
you in my last letter. The question will be ulti 
mately reduced to the northernmost and southern 
most candidate. The former will get every federal 
vote in the Union, and many republicans ; the latter, 
all of those denominated of the old school ; for you are 


not to believe that these two parties are amalgam 
ated, that the lion and the lamb are lying down to 
gether. The Hartford Convention, the victory of 
Orleans, the peace of Ghent, prostrated the name 
of federalism. Its votaries abandoned it through 
shame and mortification ; and now call themselves 
republicans. But the name alone is changed, the 
principles are the same. For in truth, the parties of 
Whig and Tory, are those of nature. They exist in 
all countries, whether called by these names, or by 
those of Aristocrats and Democrats, Cote* Droite and 
Cote* Gauche, Ultras and Radicals, Serviles, and Lib 
erals. The sickly, weakly, timid man, fears the peo 
ple, and is a tory by nature. The healthy, strong 
and bold, cherishes them, and is formed a whig by 
nature. On the eclipse of federalism with us, al 
though not its extinction, its leaders got up the Mis 
souri question, under the false front of lessening the 
measure of slavery, but with the real view of produc 
ing a geographical division of parties, which might 
insure them the next President. The people of the 
north went blindfold into the snare, followed their 
leaders for awhile with a zeal truly moral and laud 
able, until they became sensible that they were injur 
ing instead of aiding the real interests of the slaves, 
that they had been used merely as tools for election 
eering purposes ; and that trick of hypocrisy then fell 
as quickly as it had been got up. To that is now 
succeeding a distinction, which, like that of republican 
and federal, or whig and tory, being equally inter 
mixed through every State, threatens none of those 

282 THE WRITINGS OF [1823 

geographical schisms which go immediately to a sep 
aration. The line of division now, is the preserva 
tion of State rights as reserved in the constitution, or 
by strained constructions of that instrument, to merge 
all into a consolidated government. The tories are 
for strengthening the executive and general Govern 
ment ; the whigs cherish the representative branch, 
and the rights reserved by the States, as the bulwark 
against consolidation, which must immediately gen 
erate monarchy. And although this division excites, 
as yet, no warmth, yet it exists, is well understood, 
and will be a principle of voting at the ensuing elec 
tion, with the reflecting men of both parties. 

I thank you much for the two books you were so 
kind as to send me by Mr. Gallatin. Miss Wright 
had before favored me with the first edition of her 
American work ; but her " Few days in Athens," 
was entirely new, and has been a treat to me of the 
highest order. The manner and matter of the dia 
logue is strictly ancient ; and the principles of the 
sects are beautifully and candidly explained and con 
trasted ; and the scenery and portraiture of the inter 
locutors are of higher finish than anything in that 
line left us by the ancients ; and like Ossian, if not 
ancient, it is equal to the best morsels of antiquity. 
I augur, from this instance, that Herculaneum is 
likely to furnish better specimens of modern than of 
ancient genius ; and may we not hope more from the 
same pen ? 

After much sickness, and the accident of a broken 
and disabled arm, I am again in tolerable health, but 


extremely debilitated, so as to be scarcely able to 
walk into my garden. The hebetude of age, too, and 
extinguishment of interest in the things around me, 
are weaning me from them and dispose me with cheer 
fulness to resign them to the existing generation, 
satisfied that the daily advance of science will enable 
them to administer the commonwealth with increased 
wisdom. You have still many valuable years to give 
to your country, and with my prayers that they may 
be years of health and happiness, and especially that 
they may see the establishment of the principles of 
government which you have cherished through life, 
accept the assurance of my affectionate and constant 
friendship and respect. 


MONTICELLO Nov. 1$. 23. 

DEAR SIR, I return your letter to the President & that of Mr. 
Rush to you with thanks for the communication. The 1 matters 
which Mr. Rush states as under considn with the British govmt 
are verily interesting. But that about the navigation of the St. 
Lawrence & Misspi. I would rather they would let alone. The 
navign. of the former, since the N. Y. canal, is of too little in 
terest to be cared about, that of the latter too serious on account 
of the inlet it would give to British smuggling and British tam 
pering with the Indians. It would be an entering wedge to 
incalculable mischief, a powerful agent towds. separating the 

1 " to wit. I. Our commercial intercourse embracing navign of St. Lawrence 
& Missipi. 

2. Suppression of slave trade. 

3. Northern boundary. 

4. Fisheries on W. coast of N. F-land. 

5. Points of Maritime law. 

6. Russian Ukase as to N. W. coast of America." T. J. 

284 THE WRITINGS OF [1823 

I send you the rough draught of the letter I propose to write 

to F. Gilmer for your considn. and correction and salute you 



You have sent me, dear Sir, a noble animal, legitimated by 
superior force as a monarch of the Forest ; and he has incurred 
the death which his brother legitimates have so much more 
merited ; like them, in death, he becomes food for a nobler race, 
he for man, they for worms that will revel on them, but he dies 
innocent, and with death all his fears and pains are at an end ; 
they die loaded with maledictions, and liable to a sentence and 
sufferings which we will leave to the justice of heaven to award. 

In plain english we shall feast heartily on him, and thank 
you heartily as the giver of the feast. 

With Assurances of friendly esteem and respect. 


MONTICELLO, Dec. 4. 23. 

I thank you, Sir, for the inedited letter of Thos Paine which 
you have been so kind as to send me. I recognise in it the 
strong pen and dauntless mind of Common Sense, which, among 
the numerous pamphlets written on the same occasion, so pre 
eminently united us in our revolutionary opposition. 

I return the two numbers of the periodical paper, as they 
appear to make part of a regular file. The language of these 
is too harsh, more calculated to irritate than to convince or to 
persuade. A devoted friend myself to freedom of religious 
enquiry and opinion, I am pleased to see others exercise the 
right without reproach or censure ; and I respect their conclus 
ions, however different from my own. It is their own reason, 
not mine, nor that of any other, which has been given them by 
their creator for the investigation of truth, and of the evidences 
even of those truths which are presented to us as revealed by 
himself. Fanaticism, it is true, is not sparing of her invectives 


against those who refuse blindly to follow her dictates in aban 
donment of their own reason. For the use of this reason, how 
ever, every one is responsible to the God who has planted it in 
his breast, as a light for his guidance, and that, by which alone 
he will be judged. Yet why retort invectives? It is better 
always to set a good example than to follow a bad one. 

I received, in due time, the letter you mention of Jan. 27. 
and did not answer it, because the pain of writing has obliged 
me, for sometime, to withdraw from all correspondence not of 
moral and indespensable obligation. The duty of returning the 
inclosed papers furnishes the present occasion of tendering you 
my friendly and respectful salutations. 


MONTO Dec. ii. 23. 

DEAR SIR, I duly reed your favor of the 23d ult. as also the 
2 pamphlets you were so kind as to send me. That on the 
tariff I observed was soon reprinted in Ritchie's Enquirer. I 
was only sorry he did not postpone it to the meeting of Con 
gress when it would have got into the hands of all the members 
and could not fail to have great effect, perhaps a decisive one. 
It is really an extraordinary proposition that the Agricultural, 
mercantile & navigating classes should be taxed to maintain 
that of manufactures. That the doctrine of materialism was 
that of Jesus himself was a new idea to me. Yet it is proved 
unquestionably. We all know it was that of some of the early 
Fathers. I hope the physiological part will follow. In spite of 
the prevailing fanaticism reason will make it's way. I confess 
that it's reign is at present appalling. General education is the 
true remedy, and that most happily is now generally encouraged. 
The story you mention as gotten up by your opponents of my 
having advised the trustees of our University to turn you out as 
a Professor is quite in their stile of barefaced mendacity. They 
find it so easy to obliterate the reason of mankind that they 
think they may enterprize safely on his memory also. For it 
was the winter before the last only that our annual report to the 

286 THE WRITINGS OF [1823 

legislature, printed in the newspapers stated the precise ground 
on which we relinquished your engagement with our Central 
College. And, if my memory does not deceive me it was on 
your own proposition that the time of our getting into operation 
being postponed indefinitely, it was important to you not to lose 
an opportunity of fixing yourself permanently. And that they 
should father on me too the motive for this dismission, than 
whom no man living cherishes a higher estimation of your worth, 
talents, & information. But so the world goes. Man is fed 
with fables thro' life, leaves it in the belief he has known some 
thing of what has been passing, when in truth he has known 
nothing but what has passed under his own eye. And who are 
the great deceivers ? Those who solemnly pretend to be the 
depositories of the sacred truths of God himself. I will not 
believe that the liberality of the state to which you are render 
ing services in science which no other man in the union is 
qualified to render it, will suffer you to be in danger from a 
set of conjurors. I note what you say of Mr. Finch ; but the 
moment of our commencement is as indefinite as it ever was. 
Affectionately & respectfully yours. 


MONTO Dec. 18. 23. 

DEAR GENERAL, The apology in your letter of the 8th inst 
for not calling on me in your passage thro' our nbhood was quite 
unnecessary. The motions of a traveller are always controuled 
by so many imperious circumstances that wishes and courte 
sies must yield to their sway. It was reported among us, on 
I know not what authority, that you would be in Charlsvl on 
the ist inst. on your way to Congress. I went there to have 
the pleasure of paying you my respects, but after staying some 
hours, met with a person lately from Staunton who assured me 
you had passed that place & gone on by the way of Winchester. I 
comforted myself then with the French adage that what is delayed 
is not therefore lost ; and certainly in your passages to & from 
Washington should your travelling convenience ever permit a 


deviation to Monto. I shall receive you with distinguished wel 
come. Perhaps our University which you visited in it's unfin 
ished state when finished & furnished with it's scientific popln, 
may tempt you to make a little stay with us. This will probably 
be by the close of the ensuing year, when it may appear to you 
worthy of encouraging the youth of your quarter as well as others 
to seek there the finishing complement of their education. I 
flatter myself it will assume a standing secondary to nothing in 
our country. If I live to see this I shall sing with cheerfulness 
the song of old Simeon's ' nunc dimittis Domine.' 

I recall with pleasure the remembrance of our joint labors while 
in Senate together in times of great trial and of hard battling. 
Battles indeed of words, not of blood, as those you have since 
fought so much for your own glory & that of your country ; with 
the assurance that my attaints continue undiminished, accept 
that of my great respect & considn. 


MONTICELLO, Jan. 10, '24. 

Your affectionate mother requests that I would address to you, 
as a namesake, something which might have a favorable influence 
on the course of life you have to run. Few words are necessary, 
with good dispositions on your part. Adore God ; reverence 
and cherish your parents ; love your neighbor as yourself, and 
your country more than life. Be just ; be true ; murmur not at 
the ways of Providence and the life into which you have entered 
will be one of eternal and ineffable bliss. Ann if to the dead it 
is permitted to care for the things of this world, every action of 
your life will be under my regard. Farewell. 


MONTICELLO Jan. 18. 24. 

I thank you, Sir, for the copy you were so kind as to send me 
of the revd. Mr. Bancroft's Unitarian sermons. I have read 
them with great satisfaction, and always rejoice in efforts to re- 

1 From the Historical Magazine, xviii. . 50. 

288 THE WRITINGS OF [1824 

store us to primitive Christianity, in all the simplicity in which it 
came from the lips of Jesus. Had it never been sophisticated 
by the subtleties of Commentators, nor paraphrased into mean 
ings totally foreign to it's character, it would at this day have 
been the religion of the whole civilized world. But the meta 
physical abstractions of Athanasius, and the maniac ravings of 
Calvin, tinctured plentifully with the foggy dreams of Plato, have 
so loaded it with absurdities and incomprehensibilities, as to drive 
into infidelity men who had not time, patience, or opportunity to 
strip it of it's meretricious trappings, and to see it in all it's na 
tive simplicity and purity. I trust however that the same free 
exercise of private judgment which gave us our political reforma 
tion will extend it's effects to that of religion, which the present 
volume is well calculated to encourage and promote. 

Not wishing to give offence to those who differ from me in 
opinion, nor to be implicated in a theological controversy, I have 
to pray that this letter may not get into print, and to assure you 
of my great respect and good will. 


MONTICELLO Jan. 26. 24. 

SIR, I have read with much satisfaction the Sermon of Mr. 
Pierpoint which you have been so kind as to send to me, and am 
much pleased with the spirit of brotherly forbearance in matters 
of religion which it breathes, and the sound distinction it incul 
cates between the things which belong to us to judge, and those 
which do not. If all Christian sects would rally to the Sermon 
on the mount, make that the central point of Union in religion, 
and the stamp of genuine Christianity, (since it gives us all the 
precepts of our duties to one another) why should we further ask, 
with the text of our sermon ' What think ye of Christ ? ' And if 
one should answer ' he is a member of the God-head,' another 
' he is a being of eternal pre-existence,' a third ' he was a man 
divinely inspired,' a fourth ' he was the Herald of truths reforma 
tory of the religions of mankind in general, but more immediately 
of that of his own countrymen, impressing them with more sub- 


lime and more worthy ideas of the Supreme being, teaching 
them the doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments, 
and inculcating the love of mankind, instead of the anti-social 
spirit with which the Jews viewed all other nations/ what right, 
or what interest has either of these respondents to claim pre-emi 
nence for his dogma, and, usurping the judgment-seat of God, to 
condemn all the others to his wrath ? In this case, I say with the 
wiser heathen 'deorum injuriae, diis curse.' 

You press me to consent to the publication of my sentiments 
and suppose they might have effect even on Sectarian bigotry. 
But have they not the Gospel ? If they hear not that, and the 
charities it teacheth, neither will they be persuaded though one 
rose from the dead. Such is the malignity of religious antipa 
thies that, altho' the laws will no longer permit them, with Calvin, 
to burn those who are not exactly of their Creed, they raise the 
Hue & cry of Heresy against them, place them under the ban of 
public opinion, and shut them out from all the kind affections of 
society. I must pray permission therefore to continue in quiet 
during the short time remaining to me : and, at a time of life when 
the afflictions of the body weigh heavily enough, not to superadd 
those which corrode the spirit also, and might weaken it's resig 
nation to continuance in a joyless state of being which providence 
may yet destine. With these sentiments accept those of good 
will and respect to yourself. 


MONTICELLO, February 4, 1824. 

DEAR SIR, I duly received your favor of the i3th, and with 
it, the last number of the North American Review. This has 
anticipated the one I should receive in course, but have not yet 
received, under my subscription to the new series. The article 
on the African colonization of the people of color, to which you 
invite my attention, I have read with great consideration. It is, 
indeed, a fine one, and will do much good. I learn from it more, 
too, than I had before known, of the degree of success and prom 
ise of that colony. 

VOL. X. 19 

2 9 o THE WRITINGS OF [1824 

In the disposition of these unfortunate people, there are two 
rational objects to be distinctly kept in view. First. The es 
tablishment of a colony on the coast of Africa, which may intro 
duce among the aborigines the arts of cultivated life, and the 
blessings of civilization and science. By doing this, we may 
make to them some retribution for the long course of injuries we 
have been committing on their population. And considering 
that these blessings will descend to the " nati natorum, et qui 
nascentur ab illis" we shall in the long run have rendered them 
perhaps more good than evil. To fulfil this object, the colony 
of Sierra Leone promises well, and that of Mesurado adds to our 
prospect of success. Under this view, the colonization society 
is to be considered as a missionary society, having in view, how 
ever, objects more humane, more justifiable, and less aggressive 
on the peace of other nations, than the others of that appellation. 

The second object, and the most interesting to us, as coming 
home to our physical and moral characters, to our happiness and 
safety, is to provide an asylum to which we can, by degrees, send 
the whole of that population from among us, and establish them 
under our patronage and protection, as a separate, free and inde 
pendent people, in some country and climate friendly to human 
life and happiness. That any place on the coast of Africa should 
answer the latter purpose, I have ever deemed entirely impossible. 
And without repeating the other arguments which have been urged 
by others, I will appeal to figures only, which admit no contro 
versy. I shall speak in round numbers, not absolutely accurate, 
yet not so wide from truth as to vary the result materially. 
There are in the United States a million and a half of people of 
color in slavery. To send off the whole of these at once, no 
body conceives to be practicable for us, or expedient for them. 
Let us take twenty-five years for its accomplishment, within 
which time they will be doubled. Their estimated value as prop 
erty, in the first place, (for actual property has been lawfully 
vested in that form, and who can lawfully take it from the pos 
sessors ?) at an average of two hundred dollars each, young and 
old, would amount to six hundred millions of dollars, which must 
be paid or lost by somebody. To this, add the cost of their 
transportation by land and sea to Mesurado, a year's provision of 


food and clothing, implements of husbandry and of their trades, 
which will amount to three hundred millions more, making 
thirty-six millions of dollars a year for twenty-five years, with 
insurance of peace all that time, and it is impossible to look at 
the question a second time. I am aware that at the end of about 
sixteen years, a gradual detraction from this sum will commence, 
from the gradual diminution of breeders, and go on during the 
remaining nine years. Calculate this deduction, and it is still 
impossible to look at the enterprise a second time. I do not say 
this to induce an inference that the getting rid of them is forever 
impossible. For that is neither my opinion nor my hope. But 
only that it cannot be done in this way. There is, I think, a 
way in which it can be done ; that is, by emancipating the after- 
born, leaving them, on due compensation, with their mothers, 
until their services are worth their maintenance, and then put 
ting them to industrious occupations, until a proper age for de 
portation. This was the result of my reflections on the subject 
five and forty years ago, and I have never yet been able to con 
ceive any other practicable plan. It was sketched in the Notes 
on Virginia, under the fourteenth query. The estimated value 
of the new-born infant is so low, (say twelve dollars and fifty 
cents,) that it would probably be yielded by the owner gratis, 
and would thus reduce the six hundred millions of dollars, the 
first head of expense, to thirty-seven millions and a half ; leaving 
only the expense of nourishment while with the mother, and 
of transportation. And from what fund are these expenses to 
be furnished ? Why not from that of the lands which have 
been ceded by the very States now needing this relief ? And 
ceded on no consideration, for the most part, but that of the gen 
eral good of the whole. These cessions already constitute one 
fourth of the States of the Union. It may be said that these 
lands have been sold ; are now the property of the citizens com 
posing those States ; and the money long ago received and ex 
pended. But an equivalent of lands in the territories since 
acquired, maybe appropriated to that object, or so much, at least, 
as may be sufficient ; and the object, although more important 
to the slave States, is highly so to the others also, if they were 
serious in their arguments on the Missouri question. The slave 

292 THE WRITINGS OF [1824 

States, too, if more interested, would also contribute more by 
their gratuitous liberation, thus taking on themselves alone the 
first and heaviest item of expense. 

In the plan sketched in the Notes on Virginia, no particular 
place of asylum was specified ; because it was thought possible, 
that in the revolutionary state of America, then commenced, 
events might open to us some one within practicable distance. 
This has now happened. St. Domingo has become independent, 
and with a population of that color only ; and if the public papers 
are to be credited, their Chief offers to pay their passage, to re 
ceive them as free citizens, and to provide them employment. 
This leaves, then, for the general confederacy, no expense but of 
nurture with the mother a few years, and would call, of course, 
for a very moderate appropriation of the vacant lands. Suppose 
the whole annual increase to be of sixty thousand effective births, 
fifty vessels, of four hundred tons burthen each, constantly em 
ployed in that short run, would carry off the increase of every 
year, and the old stock would die off in the ordinary course of 
nature, lessening from the commencement until its final disap 
pearance. In this way no violation of private right is proposed. 
Voluntary surrenders would probably come in as fast as the means 
to be provided for their care would be competent to it. Looking 
at my own State only, and I presume not to speak for the others, 
I verily believe that this surrender of property would not amount 
to more, annually, than half our present direct taxes, to be con 
tinued fully about twenty or twenty-five years, and then gradually 
diminishing for as many more until their final extinction ; and 
even this half tax would not be paid in cash, but by the delivery 
of an object which they have never yet known or counted as part 
of their property ; and those not possessing the object will be called 
on for nothing. I do not go into all the details of the burthens 
and benefits of this operation. And who could estimate its blessed 
effects ? I leave this to those who will live to see their accom 
plishment, and to enjoy a beatitude forbidden to my age. But I 
leave it with this admonition, to rise and be doing. A million 
and a half are within their control ; but six millions, (which a 
majority of those now living will see them attain,) and one mil 
lion of these fighting men, will say, " we will not go." 


I am aware that this subject involves some constitutional scru 
ples. But a liberal construction, justified by the object, may go 
far, and an amendment of the constitution, the whole length ne 
cessary. The separation of infants from their mothers, too, would 
produce some scruples of humanity. But this would be straining 
at a gnat, and swallowing a camel. 

I am much pleased to see that you have taken up the subject 
of the duty on imported books. I hope a crusade will be kept 
up against it, until those in power shall become sensible of this 
stain on our legislation, and shall wipe it from their code, and from 
the remembrance of man, if possible. 

I salute you with assurances of high respect and esteem. 


MONTO. Feb. 5. 24. 

DEAR SIR, The inclosed letter is from a person entirely un 
known to me. Yet it seems to expect a confidence which pru 
dence cannot give to a stranger, and as he seems to write under 
your authority I take the liberty of confiding my answer to 
yourself directly & of returning his paper to you. I do not know 
that the publicn of the papers of the old Congress could be ob 
jected to, except such as might contain personalities of no conse 
quence to history. But care should be taken that they should be 
impartially published and not all on one side. We have seen how 
false a face may be given to history by the garbling of documents. 
And even during the old Congress and in it's body we had our 
whigs & tories. Mr. Wagner says that for the present he ackno- 
leges no party, and supposes his continuance in office during 6 
y. of my admn a proof of his fidelity and impartiality even while 
he was a party man. But every one knows that the clerks of the 
offices had been appd under federal heads ' and that I never 
medled with none of them. His conversion from vehemence to 
neutrality, having taken place only since his withdrawing from 
the Editorship of the Baltimore Federalist, the proofs of it have 

1 " Who appd federalists only and exclusively, that the whole mass of them 
were federal."/ 1 . J. 

294 THE WRITINGS OF [1824 

not yet reached our part of the country. Yet his word need not 
be doubted farther than as we all believe ourselves neutral. He is 
certainly capable of the task, and has the advge of being familiar 
with the arrangmt of the papers, yet not more so than the gentle 
men now in that office & who have been longer in it than he was. 
On the whole my opinion is fable to the publicn when it can be 
fairly made but that it's want is not so pressing but that it is bet 
ter to let it wait till it can be so done as to give to history it's 
true face. 

I shall be among those most rejoiced at seeing La Fayette 
again. But I hope Congress is prepared to go thro' with their 
compliment worthily. That they do not mean to invite him 
merely to dine, that provision will be made for his expences here^ 
which you know he cannot afford, and that they will not send 
him back empty handed. This would place us under indelible 
disgrace in Europe. Some 3. or 4. good townships, in Missouri, 
or Louisiana or Alabama &c. should be in readiness for him, and 
may restore his family to the opulence which his virtues have lost 
to them. I suppose the time of the visit will be left to himself, 
as the death of Louis XVIII which has probably taken place or 
soon must do will produce a crisis in his own country from which 
he could not absent himself by a visit of compliment. Ever & 
affectly yours. 


MONTICELLO, February 14, 1824. 

DEAR SIR, I have to thank you for the copy of Colonel Tay 
lor's New Views of the Constitution, and shall read them with 
the satisfaction and edification which I have ever derived from 
whatever he has written. But I fear it is the voice of one crying 
in the wilderness. Those who formerly usurped the name of 
federalists, which, in fact, they never were, have now openly 
abandoned it, and are as openly marching by the road of con 
struction, in a direct line to that consolidation which was always 
their real object. They, almost to a man, are in possession of 


one branch of the government, and appear to be very strong in 
yours. The three great questions of amendment now before 
you, will give the measure of their strength. I mean, ist, the 
limitation of the term of the presidential service ; 2d, the placing 
the choice of president effectually in the hands of the people ; 
3d, the giving to Congress the power of internal improvement, 
on condition that each State's federal proportion of the monies 
so expended, shall be employed within the State. The friends 
of consolidation would rather take these powers by construction 
than accept them by direct investiture from the States. Yet, as 
to internal improvement particularly, there is probably not a 
State in the Union which would not grant the power on the con 
dition proposed, or which would grant it without that. 

The best general key for the solution of questions of power 
between our governments, is the fact that " every foreign and 
federal power is given to the federal government, and to the 
States every power purely domestic." I recollect but one in 
stance of control vested in the federal, over the State authorities 
in a matter purely domestic, which is that of metallic tenders. 
The federal is, in truth, our foreign government, which depart 
ment alone is taken from the sovereignty of the separate States. 

The real friends of the constitution in its federal form, if they 
wish it to be immortal, should be attentive, by amendments, to 
make it keep pace with the advance of the age in science and 
experience. Instead of this, the European governments have re. 
sisted reformation, until the people, seeing no other resource, un 
dertake it themselves by force, their only weapon, and work it 
out through blood, desolation and long-continued anarchy. Here 
it will be by large fragments breaking off, and refusing re-union 
but on condition of amendment, or perhaps permanently. If I 
can see these three great amendments prevail, I shall consider it 
as a renewed extension of the term of our lease, shall live in 
more confidence, and die in more hope. And I do trust that the 
republican mass, which Colonel Taylor justly says is the real 
federal one, is still strong enough to carry these truly federo-re- 
publican amendments. With my prayers for the issue, accept 
my friendly and respectful salutations. 

296 THE WRITINGS OF [1824 


MONTO. Feb. 20. 24. 

DEAR SIR, The multiplied sollicitns to interest myself with 
you for applicants for office have been uniformly refused by me. 
In a few cases only where facts have been within my knolege, I 
have not been able to refuse stating them as a witness, which I 
have made it a point to do so drily as that you might understand 
that I took no particular interest in the case. In a conversn 
with you however at the Oakhill some two or three years ago, I 
mentioned to you that there would be one single case, and but 
one in the whole world into which I should go with my whole 
heart and soul, and ask as if it were for myself. It was that when 
ever the Post office or Collector's office at Richmd. either of them 
should become vacant, you would name Colo. B. Peyton to it, and 
preferably to the P. O. if both were to be vacant. The incumbents 
have for years been thought ready for their exit, and Foushee 
stated to be now at death's door, yet I would not ask this were 
there a man in the world more capable, more diligent or more 
honest than Peyton, one of higher worth or more general favor or 
to whom I would give it myself in preference to him. He is all 
this, and I will be responsible that his nomination will not only 
be a general gratificn, but I believe a more general one than any 
other not only to the vicinage but to the legislature & to the state 
for he is very generally known having been a captain in the late 
war and since that a Commn merch. of uncommon esteem. To 
me it will be a supreme gratifn for I look on him with almost the 
eyes of a father. I know you will be most strongly sollicited for 
others, and those too of unexceptionable merit and great interest. 
I will say boldly however for no one who will execute the office 
more faithfully & diligently or with more comity than Peyton. 1 
Grant me this, and as I never have, so I never will again put your 
friendship to the trial as for myself. I inform Peyton that I have 

1 As regards this appointment, Jefferson wrote Richard Rush : 
" Among the duties of your present station you will find the most painful to 
be that of appmt to office. To 20 applicns 19. negatives must be given, and 
what word in our language is so difficult to be pronounced as no ? On retiremt 
from office myself, knowing how much I should be harrassed to sollicit for 
others, I came to a determination to say no at once, and to all. I could not in- 


written to you, and desire him at the moment of the occurrence to 
address a letter to yourself directly that no time may be lost by it's 
passing thro' me, for not a moment will be lost by others, and the 
earlier the notice to you, the sooner you may be able to preclude 
other importunities. I salute you with constant affection & respect. 

deed refuse to say when required what I knew of an applicant, but made it a 
point to accompany that with no request or sollicitn from myself. I departed 
from my rule in one case only. I asked but did not obtain. It was for Colo. B. 
Peyton of Richmond for whom I entertained a very sincere frdshp. He 
was a meritorious officer in our late war, honest, capable, active and attentive 
to business, kind to all, and beloved by all, with a family fast growing on his 
hands and nothing to provide for them but his own industry. His line was that 
of commns business which he still follows. Particular circumstances had inter 
ested me highly in his favor. There were two offices in Richmd either of 
which would have put him at ease. The one was that of P. M. the incumbent 
of which had recently died, and I asked it for him with the same earnestness as 
if for myself and on the ground of my having never before asked anything from 
thegovmt personally. It was given to another. The other office is that of the 
collector of the port of Richmd. now held by Majr. Gibson, as worthy a man 
as could hold it, and one whom no one would ever wish to see withdrawn. But 
he is now advanced in years and in a very low state of health. He is at pres 
ent gone to the springs to recruit if possible and I wish he may, but it is not 
expected. Should anything happen to him it would be a 2d chance given me 
of getting something done for my friend Peyton. This is within your deptmt, 
and to you therefore I address my request to think of him on that event, and if 
no moral considn gives a higher claim to any other, give it to him, if only for 
my sake. Notwithstdg Gibson's ill health however my own and my age gives 
me no right to expect to be the survivor of the two. In that case I bequeath 
my friend as a legacy to you. And I pray you to be assured of my best affec 
tion & respect." 

He seems to have felt this refusal keenly, for he had previously written to 
Leiper : 

" MONTO [Oct. 27, 24]. 

" My GOOD FRIEND, Since my solicitation of July 22. at your request the 
ground on which I stand is entirely changed, and it is become impossible forme 
to ask anything further from the govmt. I cannot explain this to you, and 
even request you not to mention the fact. I should not have said it to you, but 
that I cannot offer you false excuses. My frdshp for you is the same, but this 
method of proving it is no longer in my power. Be assured of my constant & 
affect 6 attmt." 

See also the letter to Monroe of July 18, 1824, and to Leiper of Dec. 6, 1824. 

298 THE WRITINGS OF [1824 


MONTICELLO Mar. 27. 24. 

DEAR SIR, I receive Mr. Livingston's question through you 
with kindness and answer it without hesitation. He may be as 
sured I have not a spark of unfriendly feeling towards him. In 
all the earlier scenes of life we thought and acted together. We 
differed in opinion afterwards on a single point. Each main 
tained his opinion, as he had a right, and acted on it as he ought. 
But why brood over a single difference, and forget all our previ 
ous harmonies? Difference of opinion was never, with me, a 
motive of separation from a friend, In the trying times of fed 
eralism, I never left a friend. Many left me, have since returned, 
and been received with open arms. Mr. Livingston would now 
be received at Monticello with as hearty a welcome as he would 
have been in 1800. The case with Mr. Adams was much 
stronger. Fortune had disjointed our first affections, and placed 
us in opposition in every point. This separated us for a while. 
But on the first intimation thro' a friend, we re-embraced with 
cordiality, recalled our antient feelings and dispositions, and 
every thing was forgotten but our first sympathies. I bear ill-will 
to no human being. 

Another item of your letter fills my heart with thankfulness. 
With the other competitor it is an imaginary want, a mere change 
of lounge, to fill up the vacancies of mind. Ever affectionately 
and respectfully yours. 


MONTO. Apr. 3. 24. 

I am really done, my friend, with Politics, notwithstanding the 
doubts you express in your favor of Mar. 16. There is a time 
for everything, for acting in this world, and for getting ready to 
leave it. The last is now come upon me. You, I hope, will hold 
out as long as you can, because what you do, I know will always 
be done for the good of our fellow-men. With respect to the 
European combins against the rights of man I join an honest 


Irishman of my nbhood in his 4th of July toast " the Holy alli 
ance, to Hell the whole of them." 

In the Presidential election I am entirely passive. The pre 
tended letter of mine to which you allude is a faithless travestie 
of what I really wrote. That was addressed to a friend, who had 
sollicited my thoughts on the subject. It expressed no preference 
of any and in terms which could give offence to none. He incau 
tiously read the letter to a zealous partisan, who published it 
from memory and with perversions of terms adapted to his own 
wishes. I am truly sorry to see the foolish and wicked paragraph 
from a Richmond paper which you inclosed me. The frdly dis 
positions which have so long prevailed between Pensve & Virge 
and which have been so salutary to republican principles and 
govmt, are not I hope to be ruffled by a paper recently set up, 
and which if conducted in the spirit of that paragraph will as 
certainly be soon put down. These states happen at present to 
differ in the object of their choice. Both favorites are republican, 
both will administer the govmt honestly, which with the most 
wisdom each state has a right to hope for itself. But such a dif 
ference, between thinking and rational men should excite no 
more feeling than a difference of faces ; and seeing as I do, the 
permanence of our union hanging on the harmony of Pennsva & 
Virge, I hope that will continue as long as our govmt continues 
to be a blessing to mankind. To yourself long life, long health 
& prosperity. 


MONTICELLO, April 4, 1824. 

DEAR SIR, It was with great pleasure I learned that the good 
people of New Orleans had restored you again to the councils of 
our country. I did not doubt the aid it would bring to the re 
mains of our old school in Congress, in which your early labors 
had been so useful. You will find, I suppose, on revisiting our 
maritime States, the names of things more changed than the 
things themselves ; that though our old opponents have given up 
their appellation, they have not, in assuming ours, abandoned 
their views, and that they are as strong nearly as they ever were. 

300 THE WRITINGS OF [1824 

These cares, however, are no longer mine. I resign myself cheer 
fully to the managers of the ship, and the more contentedly, as I 
am near the end of my voyage. I have learned to be less confi 
dent in the conclusions of human reason, and give more credit to 
the honesty of contrary opinions. The radical idea of the char 
acter of the constitution of our government, which I have adopted 
as a key in cases of doubtful construction, is, that the whole field 
of government is divided into two departments, domestic and 
foreign, (the States in their mutual relations being of the latter ; ) 
that the former department is reserved exclusively to the respect 
ive States within their own limits, and the latter assigned to a 
separate set of functionaries, constituting what may be called the 
foreign branch, which, instead of a federal basis, is established as 
a distinct government quoad hoc, acting as the domestic branch 
does on the citizens directly and coercively ; that these depart 
ments have distinct directories, co-ordinate, and equally inde 
pendent and supreme, each within its own sphere of action. 
Whenever a doubt arises to which of these branches a power be 
longs, I try it by this test. I recollect no case where a question 
simply between citizens of the same State, has been transferred 
to the foreign department, except that of inhibiting tenders but 
of metallic money, and ex post facto legislation. The causes of 
these singularities are well remembered. 

I thank you for the copy of your speech on the question of 
national improvement, which I have read with great pleasure, 
and recognize in it those powers of reasoning and persuasion of 
which I had formerly seen from you so many proofs. Yet, in 
candor, I must say it has not removed, in my mind, all the diffi 
culties of the question. And I should really be alarmed at a dif 
ference of opinion with you, and suspicious of my own, were it 
not that I have, as companions in sentiments, the Madisons, the 
Monroes, the Randolphs, the Macons, all good men and true, of 
primitive principles. In one sentiment of the speech I particu 
larly concur. " If we have a doubt relative to any power, we 
ought not to exercise it." When we consider the extensive and 
deep-seated opposition to this assumption, the conviction enter 
tained by so many, that this deduction of powers by elaborate 
construction prostrates the rights reserved to the States, the diffi- 


culties with which it will rub along in the course of its exercise ; 
that changes of majorities will be changing" the system back 
wards and forwards, so that no undertaking under it will be safe ; 
that there is not a State in the Union which would not give the 
power willingly, by way of amendment, with some little guard, 
perhaps, against abuse ; I cannot but think it would be the wisest 
course to ask an express grant of the power. A government held 
together by the bands of reason only, requires much compromise 
of opinion ; that things even salutary should not be crammed 
down the throats of dissenting brethren, especially when they 
may be put into a form to be willingly swallowed, and that a 
great deal of indulgence is necessary to strengthen habits of har 
mony and fraternity. In such a case, it seems to me it would be 
safer and wiser to ask an express grant of the power. This 
would render its exercise smooth and acceptable to all, and in 
sure to it all the facilities which the States could contribute, to 
prevent that kind of abuse which all will fear, because all know 
it is so much practised in public bodies, I mean the bartering of 
votes. It would reconcile every one, if limited by the proviso, 
that the federal proportion of each State should be expended 
within the State. With this single security against partiality 
and corrupt bargaining, I suppose there is not a State, perhaps 
not a man in the Union, who would not consent to add this to 
the powers of the general government. But age has weaned me 
from questions of this kind. My delight is now in the passive 
occupation of reading ; and it is with great reluctance I permit 
my mind ever to encounter subjects of difficult investigation. 
You have many years yet to come of vigorous activity, and I 
confidently trust they will be employed in cherishing every 
measure which may foster our brotherly union, and perpetuate a 
constitution of government destined to be the primitive and pre 
cious model of what is to change the condition of man over the 
globe. With this confidence, equally strong in your powers and 
purposes, I pray you to accept the assurance of my cordial esteem 
and respect. 

3 02 THE WRITINGS OF [1824 


MONTICELLO, April ig, 1824. 

DEAR SIR, I received in due time your favor of the 1 2th, re 
questing my opinion on the proposition to call a convention for 
amending the constitution of the State. That this should not be 
perfect cannot be a subject of wonder, when it is considered that 
ours was not only the first of the American States, but the first 
nation in the world, at least within the records of history, which 
peaceably by its wise men, formed on free deliberation, a consti 
tution of government for itself, and deposited it in writing, among 
their archives, always ready and open to the appeal of every citi 
zen. The other States, who successively formed constitutions 
for themselves also, had the benefit of our outline, and have made 
on it, doubtless, successive improvements. One in the very out 
set, and which has been adopted in every subsequent constitu 
tion, was to lay its foundation in the authority of the nation. To 
our convention no special authority had been delegated by the 
people to form a permanent constitution, over which their suc 
cessors in legislation should have no powers of alteration. They 
had been elected for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, 
and at a time when the establishment of a new government had 
not been proposed or contemplated. Although, therefore, they 
gave to this act the title of a constitution, yet it could be no more 
than an act of legislation, subject, as their other acts were, to al 
teration by their successors. It has been said, indeed, that the 
acquiescence of the people supplied the want of original power. 
But it is a dangerous lesson to say to them " whenever your 
functionaries exercise unlawful authority over you, if you do 
not go into actual resistance, it will be deemed acquiescence and 
confirmation." How long had we acquiesced under usurpations 
of the British parliament ? Had that confirmed them in right, 
and made our revolution a wrong ? Besides, no authority has 
yet decided whether this resistance must be instantaneous ; when 
the right to resist ceases, or whether it has yet ceased. Of the 
twenty-four States now organized, twenty-three have disapproved 
our doctrine and example, and have deemed the authority of 
their people a necessary foundation for a constitution. 


Another defect which has been corrected by most of the States 
is, that the basis of our constitution is in opposition to the princi 
ple of equal political rights, refusing to all but freeholders any 
participation in the natural right of self-government. It is be 
lieved, for example, that a very great majority of the militia, on 
whom the burthen of military duty was imposed in the late war, 
were men unrepresented in the legislation which imposed this 
burthen on them. However nature may by mental or physical 
disqualifications have marked infants and the weaker sex for the 
protection, rather than the direction of government, yet among 
the men who either pay or fight for their country, no line of 
right can be drawn. The exclusion of a majority of our free 
men from the right of representation is merely arbitrary, and an 
usurpation of the minority over the majority ; for it is believed 
that the non-freeholders compose the majority of our free and 
adult male citizens. 

And even among our citizens who participate in the repre 
sentative privilege, the equality of political rights is entirely pros 
trated by our constitution. Upon which principle of right or 
reason can any one justify the giving to every citizen of War 
wick as much weight in the government as to twenty-two equal 
citizens in Loudon, and similar inequalities among the other 
counties? If these fundamental principles are of no importance 
in actual government, then no principles are important, and it is 
as well to rely on the dispositions of an administration, good or 
evil, as on the provisions of a constitution. 

I shall not enter into the details of smaller defects, although 
others there doubtless are, the reformation of some of which 
might very much lessen the expenses of government, improve its 
organization, and add to the wisdom and purity of its adminis 
tration in all its parts ; but these things I leave to others, not per 
mitting myself to take sides in the political questions of the day. 
I willingly acquiesce in the institutions of my country, perfect or 
imperfect ; and think it a duty to leave their modifications to 
those who are to live under them, and are to participate of the 
good or evil they may produce. The present generation has the 
same right of self-government which the past one has exercised 
for itself. And those in the full vigor of body and mind are 

304 THE WRITINGS OF [1824 

more able to judge for themselves than those who are sinking 
under the wane of both. If the sense of our citizens on the 
question of a convention can be fairly and fully taken, its result 
will, I am sure, be wise and salutary ; and far from arrogating 
the office of advice, no one will more passively acquiesce in it 
than myself. Retiring, therefore, to the tranquillity called for by 
increasing years and debility, I wish not to be understood as in 
termeddling in this question ; and to my prayers for the general 
good, I have only to add assurances to yourself of my great esteem. 


MONTO. June 5. 24. 

DEAR SIR, Taking for granted this will reach you while Mr. 
Gilmer is still in England, I take the liberty of putting a letter for 
him under the protection of your cover to ensure it's safe receipt 
by him. Should it however by any accident loiter on the way un 
til he should be on his return, I will request of you to open the 
letter to him and to take out and have delivered to majr. Cart- 
wright one it covers addressed to him, and which otherwise I 
would have wished Mr. Gilmer to deliver personally. 

Congress has just risen, having done nothing remarkable ex 
cept the passing a tariff bill by squeezing majorities, very 
revolting to a great portion of the people of the states, among 
whom it is believed it would not have received a vote but of the 
manufacturers themselves. It is considered as a levy on the 
labor & efforts of the other classes of industry to support that of 
manufactures, and I wish it may not draw on our surplus & pro 
duce retaliatory impositions from other nations. Among the 
candidates for the presidency you will have seen by the news 
papers that Genl. Jackson's prospect was not without promise. 
A threatening cloud has very suddenly darkened his horizon. 
A letter has become public, written by him when Colo. Monroe 
first came into office, advising him to make 'up his administrn 
without regard to party. [No suspicion has been entertained of 
any indecision in his political principles, and this evidence of 
it threatens a revoln of opinion respecting him.] ' The solid 

1 Part in brackets struck out. 


republicanism of Pensylve, his principal support, is thrown into 
great fermentation by this apparent indifference to political prin 
ciples. The thing is as yet too new to see in what it will result. 
A baseless and malicious attack on Mr. Crawford has produced 
from him so clear, so incontrovertible, and so temperate a jus- 
tifcn of himself as to have added much to the strength of his 
interest. The question will ultimately be, as I suggested in a 
former letter to you, between Crawford and Adams, with this in 
favor of Crawford that altho* many states have a different ist 
favorite, he is the second with nearly all, and that if it goes into 
the legislature he will surely be elected. I am very much de 
lighted to perceive a friendly disposn growing up between the 
people & govmt of the country where you are and ours. No 
two nations on earth have so many interests pleading for a cor 
dial frdshp, and we have never had an executive which was not 
anxious to have cultivated it, if it could have been done with 
any regard to self-respect. Accept assurances of my great es 
teem and respectful considn. 


MONTICELLO, June 29, 1824. 

DEAR SIR, I have to thank you for Mr. Pickering's elaborate 
philippic against Mr. Adams, Gerry, Smith, and myself ; and I 
have delayed the acknowledgment until I could read it and make 
some observations on it. 

I could not have believed, that for so many years, and to such 
a period of advanced age, he could have nourished passions so 
vehement and viperous. It appears, that for thirty years past, 
he has been industriously collecting materials for vituperating the 
characters he had marked for his hatred ; some of whom, certainly, 
if enmities towards him had ever existed, had forgotten them all, 
or buried them in the grave with themselves. As to myself, there 
never had been anything personal between us, nothing but the 
general opposition of party sentiment ; and our personal inter 
course had been that of urbanity, as himself says. But it seems 
he has been all this time brooding over an enmity which I had 

VOL. X. 2O 

306 THE WRITINGS OF [1824 

never felt, and that with respect to myself, as well as others, he 
has been writing far and near, and in every direction, to get hold 
of original letters, where he could, copies, where he could not, 
certificates and journals, catching at every gossiping story he 
could hear of in any quarter, supplying by suspicions what he 
could find nowhere else, and then arguing on this motley farrago, 
as if established on gospel evidence. And while expressing his 
wonder, that " at the age of eighty-eight, the strong passions of 
Mr. Adams should not have cooled ; " that on the contrary, " they 
had acquired the mastery of his soul," (p. 100 ;) that " where 
these were enlisted, no reliance could be placed on his state 
ments," (p. 104 ;) the facility and little truth with which he could 
represent facts and occurrences, concerning persons who were 
the objects of his hatred, (p. 3 ;) that " he is capable of making 
the grossest misrepresentations, and, from detached facts, and 
often from bare suspicions, of drawing unwarrantable inferences, 
if suited to his purpose at the instant," (p. 174 ;) while making 
such charges, I say, on Mr. Adams, instead of his " ecce homo" 
(p. 100 ;) how justly might we say to him, " mutato nomine, de te 
fabula narratur." For the assiduity and industry he has em 
ployed in his benevolent researches after matter of crimination 
against us, I refer to his pages 13, 14, 34, 36, 46, 71, 79, 90, bis. 
92, 93, bis. 101, ter. 104, 116, 118, 141, 143, 146, 150, 151, 153, 
168, 171, 172. That Mr. Adams' strictures on him, written and 
printed, should have excited some notice on his part, was not 
perhaps to be wondered at. But the sufficiency of his motive for 
the large attack on me may be more questionable. He says, (p. 
4) " of Mr. Jefferson I should have said nothing, but for his letter 
to Mr. Adams, of October the i2th, 1823." Now the object of 
that letter was to soothe the feelings of a friend, wounded by a 
publication which I thought an " outrage on private confidence." 
Not a word or allusion in it respecting Mr. Pickering, nor was it 
suspected that it would draw forth his pen in justification of this 
infidelity, which he has, however, undertaken in the course of 
his pamphlet, but more particularly in its conclusion. 

He arraigns me on two grounds, my actions and my motives. 
The very actions, however, which he arraigns, have been such as 
the great majority of my fellow citizens have approved. The 


approbation of Mr. Pickering, and of those who thought with 
him, I had no right to expect. My motives he chooses to ascribe 
to hypocrisy, to ambition, and a passion for popularity. Of these 
the world must judge between us. It is no office of his or mine. 
To that tribunal I have ever submitted my actions and motives, 
without ransacking the Union for certificates, letters, journals, 
and gossiping tales, to justify myself and weary them. Nor shall 
I do this on the present occasion, but leave still to them these 
antiquated party diatribes, now newly revamped and paraded, as 
if they had not been already a thousand times repeated, refuted, 
and adjudged against him, by the nation itself. If no action is to 
be deemed virtuous for which malice can imagine a sinister mo 
tive, then there never was a virtuous action ; no, not even in the 
life of our Saviour himself. But he has taught us to judge the tree 
by its fruit, and to leave motives to him who can alone see into 

But whilst I leave to its fate the libel of Mr. Pickering, with 
the thousands of others like it, to which I have given no other 
answer than a steady course of similar action, there are two facts 
or fancies of his which I must set to rights. The one respects 
Mr. Adams, the other myself. He observes that my letter of 
October the i2th, 1823, acknowledges the receipt of one from 
Mr. Adams, of September the i8th, which, having been written 
a few days after Cunningham's publication, he says was no doubt 
written to apologize to me for the pointed reproaches he had ut 
tered against me in his confidential letters to Cunningham. And 
thus having "no doubt" of his conjecture, he considers it as 
proven, goes on to suppose the contents of the letter, (19, 22,) 
makes it place Mr. Adams at my feet suing for pardon, and con 
tinues to rant upon it, as an undoubted fact. Now, I do most 
solemnly declare, that so far from being a letter of apology, as 
Mr. Pickering so undoubtedly assumes, there was not a word or 
allusion in it respecting Cunningham's publication. 

The other allegation respecting myself, is equally false. In 
page 34, he quotes Doctor Stuart as having, twenty years ago, 
informed him that General Washington, "when he became a 
private citizen," called me to account for expressions in a letter 
to Mazzei, requiring, in a tone of unusual severity, an explanation 

3o8 THE WRITINGS OF [1824 

of that letter. He adds of himself, " in what manner the latter 
humbled himself and appeased the just resentment of Washing 
ton, will never be made known, as some time after his death the 
correspondence was not to be found, and a diary for an important 
period of his presidency was also missing." The diary being of 
transactions during his presidency, the letter to Mazzei not known 
here until some time after he became a private citizen, and the pre 
tended correspondence of course after that, I know not why this 
lost diary and supposed correspondence are brought together 
here, unless for insinuations worthy of the letter itself. The cor 
respondence could not be found, indeed, because it had never 
existed. J do affirm that there never passed a word, written or 
verbal, directly or indirectly, between General Washington and 
myself on the subject of that letter. He would never have 
degraded himself so far as to take to himself the imputation in 
that letter on the " Samsons in combat." The whole story is a 
fabrication, and I defy the framers of it, and all mankind, to pro 
duce a scrip of a pen between General Washington and myself 
on the subject, or any other evidence more worthy of credit than 
the suspicions, suppositions and presumptions of the two persons 
here quoting and quoted for it. With Doctor Stuart I had not 
much acquaintance. I supposed him to be an honest man, knew 
him to be a very weak one, and, like Mr. Pickering, very prone to 
antipathies, boiling with party passions, arid under the dominion 
of these readily welcoming fancies for facts. But come the story 
from whomsoever it might, it is an unqualified falsehood. 

This letter to Mazzei has been a precious theme of crimina 
tion for federal malice. It was a long letter of business, in which 
was inserted a single paragraph only of political information as 
to the state of our country. In this information there was not 
one word which would not then have been, or would not now 
be approved by every republican in the United States, looking 
back to those times, as you will see by a faithful copy now en 
closed of the whole of what that letter said on the subject of the 
United States, or of its government. This paragraph, extracted 
and translated, got into a Paris paper at a time when the persons 
in power there were laboring under very general disfavor, and 
their friends were eager to catch even at straws to buoy them 


up. To them, therefore, I have always imputed the interpola 
tion of an entire paragraph additional to mine, which makes me 
charge my own country with ingratitude and injustice to France. 
There was not a word in my letter respecting France, or any of 
the proceedings or relations between this country and that. Yet 
this interpolated paragraph has been the burthen of federal cal 
umny, has been constantly quoted by them, made the subject of 
unceasing and virulent abuse, and is still quoted, as you see, by 
Mr. Pickering, page 33, as if it were genuine, and really written by 
me. And even Judge Marshall makes history descend from its 
dignity, and the ermine from its sanctity, to exaggerate, to re 
cord, and to sanction this forgery. In the very last note of his 
book, he says, "a letter from Mr. Jefferson to Mr. Mazzei, an 
Italian, was published in Florence, and re-published in the Moni- 
teur, with very severe strictures on the conduct of the United 
States." And instead of the letter itself, he copies what he says 
are the remarks of the editor, which are an exaggerated com 
mentary on the fabricated paragraph itself, and silently leaves to 
his reader to make the ready inference that these were the sen 
timents of the letter. Proof is the duty of the affirmative side. 
A negative cannot be positively proved. But, in defect of im 
possible proof of what was not in the original letter, I have its 
press-copy still in my possession. It has been shown to several, 
and is open to any one who wishes to see it. I have presumed 
only, that the interpolation was done in Paris. But I never saw 
the letter in either its Italian or French dress, and it may have 
been done here, with the commentary handed down to posterity 
by the Judge. The genuine paragraph, re-translated through 
Italian and French into English, as it appeared here in a federal 
paper, besides the mutilated hue which these translations and re- 
translations of it produced generally, gave a mistranslation of a 
single word, which entirely perverted its meaning, and made it 
a pliant and fertile text of misrepresentation of my political prin 
ciples. The original, speaking of an Anglican, monarchical and 
aristocratical party, which had sprung up since he had left us, 
states their object to be " to draw over us the substance, as they 
had already done the forms of the British Government." Now the 
"forms" here meant, were the levees, birthdays, the pompous 

3 io THE WRITINGS OF [1824 

cavalcade to the state house on the meeting of Congress, the 
formal speech from the throne, the procession of Congress in a 
body to re-echo the speech in an answer, &c., &c. But the 
translator here, by substituting form in the singular number, for 
forms in the plural, made it mean the frame or organization of 
our government, or its form of legislative, executive and judiciary 
authorities, coordinate and independent ; to which form it was 
to be inferred that I was an enemy. In this sense they always 
quoted it, and in this sense Mr. Pickering still quotes it, pages 34, 
35, 38, and countenances the inference. Now General Wash 
ington perfectly understood what I meant by these forms, as they 
were frequent subjects of conversation between us. When, on 
my return from Europe, I joined the government in March, 1790, 
at New York, I was much astonished, indeed, at the mimicry I 
found established of royal forms and ceremonies, and more alarmed 
at the unexpected phenomenon, by the monarchical sentiments I 
heard expressed and openly maintained in every company, and 
among others by the high members of the government, executive 
and judiciary, (General Washington alone excepted,) and by a 
great part of the legislature, save only some members who had 
been of the old Congress, and a very few of recent introduction. 
I took occasion, at various times, of expressing to General Wash 
ington my disappointment at these symptoms of a change of 
principle, and that I thought them encouraged by the forms and 
ceremonies which I found prevailing, not at all in character with 
the simplicity of republican government, and looking as if wish 
fully to those of European courts. His general explanations to 
me were, that when he arrived at New York to enter on the ex 
ecutive administration of the new government, he observed to 
those who were to assist him, that placed as he was in an office 
entirely new to him, unacquainted with the forms and ceremo 
nies of other governments, still less apprized of those which 
might be properly established here, and himself perfectly indiffer 
ent to all forms, he wished them to consider and prescribe what 
they should be ; and the task was assigned particularly to Gen 
eral Knox, a man of parade, and to Colonel Humphreys, who 
had resided some time at a foreign court. They, he said, were 
the authors of the present regulations, and that others were pro- 


posed so highly strained that he absolutely rejected them. At 
tentive to the difference of opinion prevailing on this subject, 
when the term of his second election arrived, he called the Heads 
of departments together, observed to them the situation in which 
he had been at the commencement of the government, the ad 
vice he had taken and the course he had observed in compliance 
with it ; that a proper occasion had now arrived of revising that 
course, of correcting it in any particulars not approved in expe 
rience ; and he desired us to consult together, agree on any 
changes we should think for the better, and that he should will 
ingly conform to what we should advise. We met at my office. 
Hamilton and myself agreed at once that there was too much 
ceremony for the character of our government, and particularly, 
that the parade of the installation at New York ought not to be 
copied on the present occasion, that the President should desire 
the Chief Justice to attend him at his chambers, that he should 
administer the oath of office to him in the presence of the higher 
officers of the government, and that the certificate of the fact 
should be delivered to the Secretary of State to be recorded. 
Randolph and Knox differed from us, the latter vehemently ; 
they thought it not advisable to change any of the established 
forms, and we authorized Randolph to report our opinions to the 
President. As these opinions were divided, and no positive ad 
vice given as to any change, no change was made. Thus the 
forms which I had censured in my letter to Mazzei were per 
fectly understood by General Washington, and were those which 
he himself but barely tolerated. He had furnished me a proper 
occasion for proposing their reformation, and my opinion not pre 
vailing, he knew I could not have meant any part of the censure 
for him. 

Mr. Pickering quotes, too, (page 34) the expression in the 
letter, of " the men who were Samsons in the field, and Solo 
mons in the council, but who had had their heads shorn by the 
harlot England ; " or, as expressed in their re-translation, " the 
men who were Solomons in council, and Samsons in combat, but 
whose hair had been cut off by the whore England." Now this 
expression also was perfectly understood by General Washing 
ton. He knew that I meant it for the Cincinnati generally, and 

3i2 THE WRITINGS OF [1824 

that from what had passed between us at the commencement of 
that institution, I could not mean to include him. When the 
first meeting was called for its establishment, I was a member of 
the Congress then sitting at Annapolis. General Washington 
wrote to me, asking my opinion on that proposition, and the 
course, if any, which I thought Congress would observe respect 
ing it. I wrote him frankly my own disapprobation of it ; that 
I found the members of Congress generally in the same senti 
ment ; that I thought they would take no express notice of it, 
but that in all appointments of trust, honor, or profit, they would 
silently pass by all candidates of that order, and give an uniform 
preference to others. On his way to the first meeting in Phil 
adelphia, which I think was in the spring of 1784, he called on 
me at Annapolis. It was a little after candle-light, and he sat 
with me till after midnight, conversing, almost exclusively, on 
that subject. While he was feelingly indulgent to the motives 
which might induce the officers to promote it, he concurred with 
me entirely in condemning it ; and when I expressed an idea 
that if the hereditary quality were suppressed, the institution 
might perhaps be indulged during the lives of the officers now 
living, and who had actually served ; " no," he said, " not a fibre 
of it ought to be left, to be an eye-sore to the public, a ground 
of dissatisfaction, and a line of separation between them and their 
country ; " and he left me with a determination to use all his in 
fluence for its entire suppression. On his return from the meet 
ing he called on me again, and related to me the course the thing 
had taken. He said that from the beginning, he had used every 
endeavor to prevail on the officers to renounce the project alto 
gether, urging the many considerations which would render it 
odious to their fellow citizens, and disreputable and injurious to 
themselves ; that he had at length prevailed on most of the old 
officers to reject it, although with great and warm opposition 
from others, and especially the younger ones, among whom he 
named Colonel W. S. Smith as particularly intemperate. But 
that in this state of things, when he thought the question safe, 
and the meeting drawing to a close, Major L'Enfant arrived from 
France, with a bundle of eagles, for which he had been sent 
there, with letters from the French officers who had served in 


America, praying for admission into the order, and a solemn act 
of their king permitting them to wear its ensign. This, he said, 
changed the face of matters at once, produced an entire revolu 
tion of sentiment, and turned the torrent so strongly in an oppo 
site direction that it could be no longer withstood ; all he could 
then obtain was a suppression of the hereditary quality. He 
added, that it was the French applications, and respect for the 
approbation of the king, which saved the establishment in its 
modified and temporary form. Disapproving thus of the insti 
tution as much as I did, and conscious that I knew him to do so, 
he could never suppose that I meant to include him among the 
Samsons in the field, whose object was to draw over us the form, 
as they made the letter say, of the British government, and espe 
cially its aristocratic member, an hereditary house of lords. Add 
to this, that the letter saying " that two out of the three branches 
of legislature were against us," was an obvious exception of him ; 
it being well known that the majorities in the two branches of 
Senate and Representatives, were the very instruments which 
carried, in opposition to the old and real republicans, the meas 
ures which were the subjects of condemnation in this letter. 
General Washington then, understanding perfectly what and 
whom I meant to designate, in both phrases, and that they could 
not have any application or view to himself, could find in neither 
any cause of offence to himself ; and therefore neither needed, 
nor ever asked any explanation of them from me. Had it even 
been otherwise, they must know very little of General Washing 
ton, who should believe to be within the laws of his character 
what Doctor Stuart is said to have imputed to him. Be this, 
however, as it may, the story is infamously false in every article 
of it. My last parting with General Washington was at the in 
auguration of Mr. Adams, in March, 1797, and was warmly affec 
tionate ; and I never had any reason to believe any change on 
his part, as there certainly was none on mine. But one session 
of Congress intervened between that and his death, the year 
following, in my passage to and from which, as it happened to 
be not convenient to call on him, I never had another oppor 
tunity ; and as to the cessation of correspondence observed dur 
ing that short interval, no particular circumstance occurred for 

314 THE WRITINGS OF [1824 

epistolary communication, and both of us were too much op 
pressed with letter-writing, to trouble, either the other, with a 
letter about nothing. 

The truth is, that the federalists, pretending to be the exclu 
sive friends of General Washington, have ever done what they 
could to sink his character, by hanging theirs on it, and by rep 
resenting as the enemy of republicans him, who, of all men, is 
best entitled to the appellation of the father of that republic 
which they were endeavoring to subvert, and the republicans to 
maintain. They cannot deny, because the elections proclaimed 
the truth, that the great body of the nation approved the re 
publican measures. General Washington was himself sincerely 
a friend to the republican principles of our constitution. His 
faith, perhaps, in its duration, might not have been as confident as 
mine ; but he repeatedly declared to me, that he was determined 
it should have a fair chance for success, and that he would lose 
the last drop of his blood in its support, against any attempt 
which might be made to change it from its republican form. He 
made these declarations the oftener, because he knew my sus 
picions that Hamilton had other views, and he wished to quiet 
my jealousies on this subject. For Hamilton frankly avowed, 
that he considered the British constitution, with all the corrup 
tions of its administration, as the most perfect model of gov 
ernment which had ever been devised by the wit of man ; 
professing however, at the same time, that the spirit of this country 
was so fundamentally republican, that it would be visionary to 
think of introducing monarchy here, and that, therefore, it was 
the duty of its administrators to conduct it on the principles their 
constituents had elected. 

General Washington, after the retirement of his first cabinet, 
and the composition of his second, entirely federal, and at the 
head of which was Mr. Pickering himself, had no opportunity 
of hearing both sides of any question. His measures, conse 
quently, took more the hue of the party in whose hands he was. 
These measures were certainly not approved by the republicans ; 
yet were they not imputed to him, but to the counsellors around 
him ; and his prudence so far restrained their impassioned course 
and bias, that no act of strong mark, during the remainder of 


his administration, excited much dissatisfaction. He lived too 
short a time after, and too much withdrawn from information, to 
correct the views into which he had been deluded ; and the con 
tinued assiduities of the party drew him into the vortex of their 
intemperate career ; separated him still farther from his real 
friends, and excited him to actions and expressions of dissatis 
faction, which grieved them, but could not loosen their affec 
tions from him. They would not suffer the temporary aberration 
to weigh against the immeasurable merits of his life ; and although 
they tumbled his seducers from their places, they preserved his 
memory embalmed in their hearts, with undiminished love and 
devotion ; and there it forever will remain embalmed, in entire 
oblivion of every temporary thing which might cloud the glories 
of his splendid life. It is vain, then, for Mr. Pickering and his 
friends to endeavor to falsify his character, by representing him 
as an enemy to republicans and republican principles, and as 
exclusively the friend of those who were so ; and had he lived 
longer, he would have returned to his ancient and unbiased 
opinions, would have replaced his confidence in those whom the 
people approved and supported, and would have seen that they 
were only restoring and acting on the principles of his own first 

I find, my dear Sir, that I have written you a very long letter, 
or rather a history. The civility of having sent me a copy of 
Mr. Pickering's diatribe, would scarcely justify its address to you. 
I do not publish these things, because my rule of life has been 
never to harass the public with fendings and provings of personal 
slanders ; and least of all would I descend into the arena of 
slander with such a champion as Mr. Pickering. I have ever 
trusted to the justice and consideration of my fellow citizens, 
and have no reason to repent it, or to change my course. At 
this time of life too, tranquillity is the summum bonum. But 
although I decline all newspaper controversy, yet when false 
hoods have been advanced, within the knowledge of no one so 
much as myself, I have sometimes deposited a contradiction in 
the hands of a friend, which, if worth preservation, may, when 
I am no more, nor those whom I might offend, throw light on 
history, and recall that into the path of truth. And if of no 

316 THE WRITINGS OF [1824 

other value, the present communication may amuse you with 
anecdotes not known to every one. 

I had meant to have added some views on the amalgamation of 
parties, to which your favor of the 8th has some allusion ; an amal 
gamation of name, but not of principle. Tories are tories still, by 
whatever name they may be called. But my letter is already 
too unmercifully long, and I close it here with assurances of my 
great esteem and respectful consideration. 


MONTICELLO July 1 8. 24. 

DEAR SIR, I have duly reed, your favor of the i2th inst. and 
concur in every sentimt you express on the subject of mine of 
the 2d. They were exactly what I should have said to you my 
self had our places been changed. My Ire was meant only to 
convey the wishes of the party, and in few cases where circum 
stances have obliged me to communicate sollicitns have I ever 
suffered my own wishes to mingle with theirs. That of Peyton I 
except, which yet I would not have urged were it possible for 
you to appoint a better man, or one more solidly in the public 
esteem. In the case which was the subject of my Ire of the 2d. 
the abilities are sfft. the temper & prudence questionable, and the 
standing in public opn defective. Yet this latter circumstance 
is always important, because it is not wisdom alone, but public 
confidce in that wisdom which can support an admn. Something 
however, less marked may occur to give him decent and com 
fortable maintenance. 

I am sorry to hear that England is equivocal. My reliance 
was on the great interest she had in the indepdce of the Spanish 
colonies, and my belief that she might be trusted in followg what 
ever clue would lead to her interest. The Spanish agents will 
doubtless think -it reasonable that we make our commitmt depend 
entirely on the concurrence of Engld. With that we are safe ; 
without it we cannot protect them and they cannot reasonably 
expect us to sink ourselves uselessly & even injuriously for them 
by a Quixotic encounter of the whole world in arms. Were it 


Spain alone I should have no fear. But Russia is said to have 
70. ships of the line. France approaching that number and what 
should we be in fronting such a force. It is not for the interest 
of Spanish America that our republic should be blotted out of the 
map, and to the rest of the world it would be an act of treason. 
I see both reason and justifcn in hanging our answers to them on 
the coopern of England & directing all their importunities to that 
govmt. We feel strongly for them, but our first care must be 
ourselves. I am sorry for the doubtfulness of your visit to our 
nbhood, and still more so for the ground of it. With my prayers 
that the last may be favorably relieved, accept the assurance of 
my affecte frdshp & great respect. 


MONTO. Aug. 10. 24. 

SIR, I have duly received your favor of the i4th and with it 
the prospectus of a newspaper which it covered. If the style and 
spirit of that should be maintained in the paper itself it will be 
truly worthy of the public patronage. As to myself it is many 
years since I have ceased to read but a single paper. I am no 
longer therefore a general subscriber for any other. Yet to en 
courage the hopeful in the outset I have sometimes subscribed 
for the ist year on the condition of being discontinued at the end 
of it, without further warning. I do the same now with pleasure 
for yours, and unwilling to have outstanding accounts which I 
am liable to forget, I now inclose the price of the tri-weekly paper. 
I am no believer in the amalgamation of parties, nor do I con 
sider it as either desirable or useful for the public ; but only that, 
like religious differences, a difference in politics should never be 
permitted to enter into social intercourse, or to disturb it's friend 
ships, its charities or justice. In that form they are censors of 
the conduct of each other, and useful watchmen for the public. 
Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties. 
i. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all 
powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2ndly 
those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence 

3i8 THE WRITINGS OF [1824 

in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest & safe, 
altho' not the most wise depository of the public interests. In 
every country these two parties exist, and in every one where 
they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare them 
selves. Call them therefore liberals and serviles, Jacobins and 
Ultras, whigs and tories, republicans and federalists, aristocrats 
and democrats or by whatever name you please, they are the 
same parties still and pursue the same object. The last appella 
tion of aristocrats and democrats is the true one expressing the 
essence of all. A paper which shall be governed by the spirit of 
Mr. Madison's celebrated report, of which you express in your 
prospectus so just and high an approbation, cannot be false to 
the rights of all classes. The grandfathers of the present gen 
eration of your family I knew well. They were friends and fel 
low-laborers with me in the same cause and principle. Their 
descendants cannot follow better guides. Accept the assurance 
of my best wishes & respectful consideration. 


MONTICELLO Sep. 3. 24 

The mail my dear Friend, succeeding that which brought us 
the welcome news of your arrival on our shores, brought that of 
your being to proceed immediately to the North. I delayed 
therefore till you should turn Southwdly to meet you with my 
sincere congratulns on your safe passage, and restoration to those 
who love you more than any people on earth. Indeed I fear 
they will kill you with their kindness, so fatiguing and exhausting 
must be the ceremonies they force upon you. Be on your guard, 
against this, my dear Sir, and do not lose in the enthusiastic 
embraces of affection a life they are meant to cherish. I see you 
are to visit our Yorktown on the ipth of Oct. My spirit will be 
there, my body cannot. 1 am too much enfeebled by age for 
such a journey. I cannot walk further than my garden, with 
infirmities too which can only be nursed at home. I imagine you 
will be forced to visit Chas. T. and Savanna, for where is it they will 
not wish and ask your company if they can get it. Our little vil- 


lage of Charlottesville insists also on receiving you. They would 
have claimed you as their guest, were it possible I could have 
seen you the guest of any other than myself in the vicinage of 
Monto. I have reduced them therefore to the honor of your ac 
cepting from them a dinner, and that, thro' me, they beseech you 
to come & accept. I suppose in fact that either going to or 
returning from the South, the line by Monto. & Montpellier will 
be little out of your way. Come then, my dear friend, suit the 
time to yourself, make your headquarters here from whence the 
ride to Charlottesville & it's appendage our university will not be 
of an hour. Let me once more have the happiness of talking 
over with you your first labors here, those I witnessed in your 
own country, it's past & present afflictions and future hopes. God 
bless and preserve you, and give me once more to see and em 
brace you. 


MONTO. Sep. 5. 24. 

SIR, I have duly received your favor of the 25th ult. request 
ing permission to publish my letters of July 12. and Sep. 5. 1816. 
But to this I cannot consent. They were committed to your 
honor and confidence under express injunxtions against their 
publication, and I am happy to learn that that confidence has not 
been misplaced. The reasons too, then opposed to it, have 
gained greater strength by increase of age and of aversion to be 
committed to political altercation and obloquy. Nor do I believe 
their publicn would have any weight. Our fellow citizens think 
too independantly for themselves to yield their opinions to any 
one. Another strong reason against it at present is the alarm 
which has been excited, and with great effect, lest too much in 
novation should be attempted. These letters would do harm by 
increasing that alarm. At a particular and pressing request I did 
venture in a letter to Mr. Pleasants some strictures on certain 
defects in our constitution, with permission to publish them. So 
far then my opinions are known. When the legislature shall be 
assembled, and the question approaching of calling a convention, 
I should have no objection to a discreet communication of these 
letters to thinking and friendly members, who would not hang me 

320 THE WRITINGS OF [1824 

up as a scare-crow and enemy to a constitution on which many 
believe the good and happiness of their country depend. I be 
lieve on the contrary that they depend on amending that constn 
from time to time and keeping it always in harmony with the 
advance of habits and principles. But I respect their right of 
free opinion too much to urge an uneasy pressure on them. 
Time and advancing science will ripen us all in it's course, and 
reconcile all to wholesome and necessary changes. I salute you 
with respectful consideration. 


MONTICELLO, October 9, 1824. 

I have duly received, my dear friend and General, 
your letter of the ist from Philadelphia, giving us the 
welcome assurance that you will visit the neighbor 
hood which, during the march of our enemy near it, 
was covered by your shield from his robberies and 
ravages. In passing the line of your former march 
you will experience pleasing recollections of the good 
you have done. My neighbors, too, of our academi 
cal village, who well remember their obligations to 
you, have expressed to you, in a letter from a com 
mittee appointed for that purpose, their hope that 
you will accept manifestations of their feelings, sim 
ple indeed, but as cordial as any you will have 
received. It will be an additional honor to the Uni 
versity of the State that you will have been its first 
guest. Gratify them, then, by this assurance to their 
committee, if it has not been done. But what recol 
lections, dear friend, will this call up to you and me \ 
What a history have we to run over from the evening 
that yourself, Meusnier, Bernau, and other patriots 
settled, in my house in Paris, the outlines of the con- 

1 8 24] THOMAS JEFFERSON. 32 1 

stitution you wished ! And to trace it through all 
the disastrous chapters of Robespierre, Barras, Bona 
parte, and the Bourbons ! These things, however, 
are for our meeting. You mention the return of 
Miss Wright to America, accompanied by her sister ; 
but do not say what her stay is to be, nor what her 
course. Should it lead her to a visit of our Univer 
sity, which, in its architecture only, is as yet an object, 
herself and her companion will nowhere find a wel 
come more hearty than with Mrs. Randolph, and all 
the inhabitants of Monticello. This Athenaeum of 
our country, in embryo, is as yet but promise ; and 
not in a state to recall the recollections of Athens. 
But everything has its beginning, its growth, and 
end ; and who knows with what future delicious mor 
sels of philosophy, and by what future Miss Wright 
raked from its ruins, the world may, some day, be 
gratified and instructed ? Your son George we shall 
be very happy indeed to see, and to renew in him the 
recollections of your very dear family ; and the revo 
lutionary merit of M. le Vasseur has that passport to 
the esteem of every American, and, to me, the addi 
tional one of having been your friend and co-operator, 
and he will, I hope, join you in making head-quarters 
with us at Monticello. But all these things a revoir ; 
in the meantime we are impatient that your cere 
monies at York should be over, and give you to the 
embraces of friendship. 

P. S. Will you come by Mr. Madison's, or let him 
or me know on what day he may meet you here, and 
join us in our greetings ? 

VOL. X. 21 

322 THE WRITINGS OF [1824 


MONTICELLO, October 13, 1824. 

DEAR SIR, I must again beg the protection of your cover for 
a letter to Mr. Gilmer ; although a little doubtful whether he may 
not have left you. 

You will have seen by our papers the delirium into which our 
citizens are thrown by a visit from General La Fayette. He is 
making a triumphant progress through the States, from town to 
town, with acclamations of welcome, such as no crowned head 
ever received. It will have a good effect in favor of the General 
with the people in Europe, but probably a different one with 
their sovereigns. Its effect here, too, will be salutary as to our 
selves, by rallying us together and strengthening the habit of 
considering our country as one and indivisible, and I hope we 
shall close it with something more solid for him than dinners 
and balls. The eclat of this visit has almost merged the Presi 
dential question, on which nothing scarcely is said in our papers. 
That question will lie ultimately between Crawford and Adams ; 
but, at the same time, the vote of the people will be so distracted 
by subordinate candidates, that possibly they may make no elec 
tion, and let it go to the House of Representatives. There, it is 
thought, Crawford's chance is best. We have nothing else inter 
esting before the public. Of the two questions of the tariff and 
public improvements, the former, perhaps, is not yet at rest, 
and the latter will excite boisterous discussions. It happens that 
both these measures fall in with the western interests, and it is 
their secession from the agricultural States which gives such 
strength to the manufacturing and consolidating parties, on these 
two questions. The latter is the most dreaded, because thought 
to amount to a determination in the federal government to as 
sume all powers non-enumerated as well as enumerated in the con 
stitution, and by giving a loose to construction, make the text 
say whatever will relieve them from the bridle of the States. 
These are difficulties for your day ; I shall give them the slip. 
Accept the assurance of my friendly attachment and great respect. 



MONTICELLO, October 24, '24. 

DEAR SIR, I should not have delayed a single day the answer 
to your interesting and acceptable letter of the i3th inst. but that 
it found me suffering severely from an imposthume formed under 
the jaw, and closing it so effectually as to render the introduction 
of sustenance into the mouth impossible but in a fluid form, and 
that, latterly, sucked thro' a tube. After 2 or 3 weeks of suffer 
ance, and a total prostration of strength, 1 have been relieved by 
a discharge of the matter, and am now on the recovery ; and I 
avail myself of the first moment of my ability to take up a pen to 
assure you that nothing could be more welcome to me than the 
visit proposed, or it's object. During the stay you were so kind 
as to make with us, my opportunities were abundant of seeing 
and estimating the merit of your character ; insomuch as to need 
no further enquiry from others. Nor did the family leave me 
uninformed of the attachment which seemed to be forming to 
wards my grandaur. Ellen. I learnt it with pleasure ; because I 
believed of yours, and knew of her extraordinary moral qualifica 
tions, I was satisfied no two minds could be formed, better com 
pounded to make each other happy. I hold the same sentiment 
now that I receive the information from yourself, and assure you 
that no union could give to me greater satisfaction, if your wishes 
prove mutual, and your friends consenting. What provision for a 
competent subsistence for you, might exist or be practicable, was 
a consideration for both parties. 1 knew that the circumstances 
of her father, Governor Randolph, offered little prospect from his 
resources, prostrated as they have been by too much facility in 
engagements for others. Some suffering of the same kind myself, 
and of sensible amount, with debts of my own, remove to a dis 
tance anything I could do, and certainly should do, for you. My 
property is such that after a discharge of these incumbrances, 
a comfortable provision will remain for my unprovided grand 
children. This state of things on our part leaves us nothing to 
propose for the present but to submit the course to be pursued 
entirely to your own discretion, and the will of your friends, un 
der the general assurance that whenever circumstances enable me 

1 From a copy in the possession of A. C. Coolidge, Esq., of Cambridge. 

324 THE WRITINGS OF [1824 

to do any thing, it will be directed by justice to the other members 
of my family, a special affection to this particularly valued grand 
daughter, and a cordial attachment to yourself. Your visit to 
Monticello and at the time of your own convenience will be truly 
welcome, and your stay whatever may suit yourself, under any 
views of friendship or connection. My gratification will be meas 
ured by the time of it's continuance. 

I ought sooner to have thanked you for the valuable work of 
Milisia, on Architecture : searching, as he does, for the resources 
and prototypes of our ideas of beauty in that fine art, he appears 
to have elicited them with more correctness than any other I have 
read : and his work, as a text book, furnishes excellent matter for 
a course of lectures on the subject, which I shall hope to have 
introduced into our institution. The letters of Mr. Gilmer are 
encouraging as to the time and style of opening it. 

I expect in the course of the ist. or 2d week of the approach 
ing month to receive here the visit of my antient friend Genl 
La Fayette. The delirium which his visit has excited in the 
North invelopes him in the South also. The humble village of 
Charlottesville, or rather the county of Albemarle, of which it 
is the seat of justice, will exhibit it's great affection, and unpre 
tending means, in a dinner to be given the General in the build 
ings of the University, to which they have given accepted 
invitations to Mr. Madison also and myself as guests, and at 
which your presence, as my guest would give high pleasure to us 
all, and to none, I assure you, more cordially than to your sincerely 
attached friend. 


MONTICELLO Oct 27. 24 

DEAR SIR, Your letter of the 2ist found me in a commence 
ment of convalescence after a severe illness of some weeks. I 
have given however to the pamphlet which accompanied it the 
best attention which my condition has permitted. The facts it 
has collected are valuable, encouraging to the American mind, 
1 From a copy courteously furnished by Mr. W. M. Meigs of Philadelphia. 


and so far as they respect ourselves could give umbrage to none. 
But if a contrast with other nations were necessary or useful, it 
would have been more flattering had it come from a foreign hand- 
After the severe chastisement given by Mr. Walsh in his Ameri 
can Register, to English scribblers, which they well deserved and 
I was delighted to see, I hoped there would be an end of this 
inter-crimination, and that both parties would prefer the course 
of courtesy and conciliation, and I think their considerate writers 
have since shewn that disposition, and that it would prevail if 
equally cultivated by us. Europe is doing us full justice ; why 
then detract from her. It is true that the pamphlet, in winding 
up, disavows this intention, but in opposition to the fact of re 
peated sets made at England, and too frequent assumptions of 
superiority. It is true we have advantages, and great advantages 
over her in some of our institutions, and in some important con 
ditions of our existence. But in so many as are assumed will be 
believed by ourselves only, and not by all among ourselves. It 
cannot be denied that we are a boasting nation. I repeat how 
ever that the work is highly consolatory to us, and that, with the 
indulgence of this single criticism, it merits all praise in its mat 
ter, style and composition. Mr. Short and Mr. Harris have truly 
informed you that I suffer to excess by an oppressive correspond 
ence. The decays of age have so reduced the powers of life with 
me, that a greater affliction can scarcely be imposed on me than 
that of writing a letter. I feel indeed that I must withdraw from 
the labors of this duty, even if it loses me all my friends. My 
affections for them undergo no diminution, but the laws of the 
animal economy take from me this means of manifesting it. Be 
pleased to accept the assurance of my high respect and esteem. 


MONTICELLO Dec. 6. 24. 

Be assured, dear Sir, that the reasons which put it out of my 
power to interfere in behalf of Mr. Taylor were such as yourself 
would pronounce insuperable had it been proper for me to have 
mentioned them. We shall be happy to receive your son & 

326 THE WRITINGS OF [1824 

Daughter here whenever they will favor us with their visit. Rich 
mond was not well chosen, as the place to shake off a fever & 
ague in the months of Aug. Sep. & Oct. till frost. All it's inhab 
itants who can afford it leave it for the upper country during that 
season. If Miss Julia, instead of accompanying her brother to 
Lynchbg will stay with us till his return I should have strong con 
fidence in his finding that she will have missed her fit. There 
never was an instance of fever & ague originating here, nor did I 
ever know our friends who have brot it from below, pass the 4th 
fit. Should the inveteracy of her case bid defiance to our air for 
awhile, she had still better stay with us till that of Richmd. be 
comes safe by frost and numerous fires, these as well as frost be 
ing correctives of the atmosphere. We have two stages a week 
going to Richmd. which will give her a passage to that place 
when ever she shall think herself well enough to venture to it ; 
and in the meantime we shall be happy in having her as one of 
our family and in administering to her every care & comfort in 
our power. No one of your family must ever suppose themselves 
not at home when with me ; and indeed I think it would be but 
fatherly to accompany your son yourself and give him the benefit 
of your lessons when visiting our warehouses. To me this addi 
tion to the visit would be most welcome and add to the pleasure 
with which I assure you of my constant frdshp & respect. 


MONTICELLO Dec. 15. 24. 

DEAR SIR, I have examined my letter of Jan. 13. 1803. as 
well as the indistinct copy given by the copying press permits. 
In some parts it is illegible. The publication of the whole of the 
ist paragraph would merit very serious considn as respects my 
self. Written when party passions and contests were at their 
greatest height, and expressing freely to you, with whom I had no 
reserve, my opinion of the views of the other party, which were 
all but treasonable, they would kindle embers long seeming to be 
extinguished. And altho' at that time the views stated were 
known to be true, and not doubted at this moment, yet promul- 


gated now, they would seem very harsh, and renew personal en 
mities and hatreds which time seems to have quieted. Yet I am 
perfectly willing that such parts as would be useful to you, with 
out committing me to new persecutions should be made publick. 
With this view I have revised the paragraph, suppressed passages 
which would be offensive, modified here and there an expression, 
and now inclose you the form in which I should consent to it's 
publcn. Your letter by Mr. Ticknor & Mr. Webster has been 
duly reed. With the former I had had acquaintance and corre 
spondence of long standing ; and I am much gratified by the 
acquaintance made with the latter. 1 He is likely to become of 
great weight in our govmt. 

1 In the Private Correspondence of Daniel Webster (i. , 364) is " a memo 
randum " by Webster descriptive of this visit, with a picture of Jefferson's 
daily life and personal appearance. Following this are " anecdotes from Mr. 
Jefferson's conversation," which are here appended : 

" Patrick Henry was originally a bar-keeper. He was married very young, and 
going into some business, on his own account, was a bankrupt before the year 
was out. When I was about the age of fifteen, I left the school here, to go to 
the college at Williamsburgh. I stopped a few days at a friend's in the county 
of Louisa. There I first saw and became acquainted with Patrick Henry. 
Having spent the Christmas holidays there, I proceeded to Williamsburgh. 
Some question arose about my admission, as my preparatory studies had not 
been pursued at the school connected with that institution. This delayed my 
admission about a fortnight, at which time Henry appeared in Williamsburgh, 
and applied for a license to practise law, having commenced the study of it at 
or subsequently to the time of my meeting him in Louisa. There were four 
examiners, Wythe, Pendleton, Peyton Randolph, and John Randolph ; Wythe 
and Pendleton at once rejected his application. The two Randolphs, by his 
importunity, were prevailed upon to sign the license ; and having obtained their 
signatures, he applied again to Pendleton, and after much entreaty and many 
promises 6f future study, succeeded in obtaining his. He then turned out for a 
practising lawyer. The first case which brought him into notice, was a con 
tested election, in which he appeared as counsel before a committee of the House 
of Burgesses. His second was the Parsons cause, already well known. These 
and similar efforts soon obtained for him so much reputation, that he was 
elected a member of the legislature. He was as well suited to the times as any 
man ever was, and it is not now easy to say what we should have done without 
Patrick Henry. He was far before all in maintaining the spirit of the Revolu 
tion. His influence was most extensive with the members from the upper 
counties, and his boldness and their votes overawed and controlled the 
more cool or the more timid aristocratic gentlemen of the lower part of the 

328 THE WRITINGS OF [1825 


MONTICELLO, January 8, 1825. 

DEAR SIR, I returned the first volume of Hall by a mail of a 
week ago, and by this, shall return the second. We have kept 
them long, but every member of the family wished to read kis 
book, in which case, you know, it had a long gauntlet to ran. 
It is impossible to read thoroughly such writings as those of 
Harper and Otis, who take a page to say what requires but a 

State. His eloquence was peculiar, if indeed it should be called eloqueice ; 
for it was impressive and sublime, beyond what can be imagined. Although it 
was difficult when he had spoken to tell what he had said, yet, while he was 
speaking, it always seemed directly to the point. When he had spoken in op 
position to my opinion, had produced a great effect, and I myself been highly 
delighted and moved, I have asked myself when he ceased : ' What the d 1 
has he said ? ' I could never answer the inquiry. His person was of full size, 
and his manner and voice free and manly. His utterance neither very fast nor 
very slow. His speeches generally short, from a quarter to a half an hour. 
His pronunciation was vulgar and vicious, but it was forgotten while he was 

" He was a man of very little knowledge of any sort ; he read nothing, and had 
no books. Returning one November from Albemarle court, he borrowed of me 
Hume's Essays, in two volumes, saying he should have leisure in the winter for 
reading. In the spring he returned them, and declared he had not been able to 
go further than twenty or thirty pages in the first volume. He wrote almost 
nothing he could not write. The resolutions of '75, which have been ascribed 
to him, have by many been supposed to have been written by Mr. Johnson, who 
acted as his second on that occasion ; but if they were written by Henry him 
self, they are not such as to prove any power of composition. Neither in 
politics nor in his profession was he a man of business ; he was a man for de 
bate only. His biographer says that he read Plutarch every year. I doubt 
whether he ever read a volume of it in his life. His temper was excellent, and 
he generally observed decorum in debate. On one or two occasions I have 
seen him angry, and his anger was terrible ; those who witnessed it, were not 
disposed to rouse it again. In his opinions he was yielding and practicable and 
not disposed to differ from his friends. In private conversation, he was 
agreeable and facetious, and, while in genteel society, appeared to understand 
all the decencies and proprieties of it ; but, in his heart, he preferred low 
society, and sought it as often as possible. He would hunt in the pine woods 
of Fluvannah, with overseers, and people of that description, living in a camp 
for a fortnight at a time without a change of raiment. I have often been as 
tonished at his command of proper language ; how he attained the knowledge 
of it, I never could find out, as he read so little and conversed little with educated 


sentence, or rather, who give you whole pages of what is noth 
ing to the purpose. A cursory race over the ground is as much 
as they can claim. It is easy for them, at this day, to endeavor 
to whitewash their party, when the greater part are dead of those 
who witnessed what passed, others old and become indifferent 
to the subject, and others indisposed to take the trouble of an 
swering them. As to Otis, his attempt is to prove that the sun 
does not shine at mid-day ; that that is not a fact which every 

men. After all, it must be allowed that he was our leader in the measures of 
the Revolution, in Virginia. In that respect more was due to him than any 
other person. If we had not had him we should probably have got on pretty 
well, as you did, by a number of men of nearly equal talents, but he left us all 
far behind. His biographer sent the sheets of his work to me as they were 
printed, and at the end asked for my opinion. I told him it would be a question 
hereafter, whether his work should be placed on the shelf of history or of pane 
gyric. It is a poor book written in bad taste, and gives so imperfect an idea of 
Patrick Henry, that it seems intended to show off the writer more than the 
subject of the work. 

" Throughout the whole Revolution, Virginia and the four New England 
States acted together ; indeed, they made the Revolution. Their five votes 
were always to be counted on ; but they had to pick up the remaining two for a 
majority, when and where they could. 

" About the time of the Boston Port Bill, the patriotic feeling in Virginia had 
become languid and worn out, from some cause or other. It was thought by 
some of us to be absolutely necessary to excite the people ; but we hardly knew 
the right means. At length it occurred to us to make grave faces and propose 
a fast. Some of us, who were the younger members of the assembly, resolved 
upon the measure. We thought Oliver Cromwell would be a good guide in 
such a case. So we looked into Rush worth, and drew up our resolutions after 
the most pious and praiseworthy examples. It would hardly have been in 
character for us to present them ourselves. We applied therefore to Mr. 
Nicholas, a grave and religious man ; he proposed them in a set and solemn 
speech ; some of us gravely seconded him, and the resolutions were passed 
unanimously. If any debate had occurred, or if they had been postponed for 
consideration, there was no chance that they would have been passed. The 
next morning Lord Bottetourt, the governor, summoned the assembly to his 
presence, and said to them : ' I have heard of your proceedings of yesterday, 
and augur ill of their effects. His Majesty's interest requires that you be dis 
solved, and you are dissolved.' Another election taking place soon afterwards, 
such was the spirit of the times, that every member of the assembly, without an 
individual exception, was re-elected. 

" Our fast produced very considerable effect. We all agreed to go home and 

330 THE WRITINGS OF [1825 

one saw. He merits no notice. It is well known that Harper 
had little scruple about facts where detection was not obvious. 
By placing in false lights whatever admits it, and passing over in 
silence what does not, a plausible aspect may be presented of any 
thing. He takes great pains to prove, for instance, that Hamil 
ton was no monarchist, by exaggerating his own intimacy with 
him, and the impossibility, if he was so, that he should not, at 
some time, have betrayed it to him. This may pass with unin- 

see that preachers were provided incur counties, and notice given to our people. 
I came home to my own county, provided a preacher, and notified the people, 
who came together in great multitudes, wondering what it meant. 

"Lord Bottetourt was an honorable man. His government had authorized 
him to make certain assurances to the people here, which he made accordingly. 
He wrote to the minister that he had made these assurances, and that, unless 
he should be enabled to fulfil them, he must retire from his situation. This letter 
he sent unsealed to Peyton Randolph for his inspection. Lord Bottetourt's 
great respectability, his character for integrity, and his general popularity, 
would have enabled him to embarrass the measures of the patriots exceedingly. 
His death was, therefore, a fortunate event for the cause of the Revolution. 
He was the first governor in chief that had ever come over to Virginia. Before 
his time, we had received only deputies, the governor residing in England, with 
a salary of five thousand pounds, and paying his deputy one thousand pounds. 

" When Congress met, Patrick Henry and Richard Henry Lee opened the 
subject with great ability and eloquence. So much so, that Paca and Chase, 
delegates from Maryland, said to each other as they returned from the House : 
' We shall not be wanted here ; those gentlemen from Virginia will be able to 
do everything without us.' But neither Henry nor Lee were men of business, 
and having made strong and eloquent general speeches, they had done all they 

" It was thought advisable that two papers should be drawn up, one, an ad 
dress to the people of England, and the other, an address, I think, to the king. 
Committees were raised for these purposes, and Henry was at the head of the 
first, and Lee of the second. 

" When the address to the people of England was reported, Congress heard 
it with utter amazement. It was miserably written and good for nothing. At 
length Governor Livingston, of New Jersey, ventured to break silence. After 
complimenting the author, he said he thought some other ideas might be use 
fully added to his draft of the address. Some such paper had been for a con 
siderable time contemplated, and he believed a friend of his had tried his hand 
in the composition of one. He thought if the subject were again committed, 
some improvement in the present draft might be made. It was accordingly re 
committed, and the address which had been alluded to by Governor Livingston, 


formed readers, but not with those who have had it from Hamil 
ton's own mouth. I am one of those, and but one of many. At 
my own table, in presence of Mr. Adams, Knox, Randolph, and 
myself, in a dispute between Mr. Adams and himself, he avowed 
his preference of monarchy over every other government, and his 
opinion that the English was the most perfect model of govern 
ment ever devised by the wit of man, Mr. Adams agreeing "if 
its corruptions were done away." While Hamilton insisted that 

and which was written by John Jay, was reported by the committee, and adopted 
as it now appears. 

" It is, in my opinion, one of the very best state papers which the Revolu 
tion produced. 

" Richard Henry Lee moved the Declaration of Independence, in pursuance 
of the resolutions of the assembly of Virginia, and only because he was the old 
est member of the Virginia delegation. 

" The Declaration of Independence was written in a house on the north side 
of Chestnut street, Philadelphia, between third and fourth, not a corner house. 
Heiskell's tavern, which has been pointed out as the house, is not the true one. 

" For depth of purpose, zeal, and sagacity, no man in Congress exceeded, if 
any equalled Sam. Adams; and none did more than he to originate and sus 
tain revolutionary measures in Congress. But he could not speak ; he had a 
hesitating, grunting manner. 

" John Adams was our Colossus on the floor. He was not graceful, nor ele 
gant, nor remarkably fluent ; but he came out, occasionally, with a power of 
thought and expression that moved us from our seats. 

" I feel much alarmed at the prospect of seeing General Jackson President. 
He is one of the most unfit men I know of for such a place. He has had very 
little respect for laws or constitutions, and is, in fact, an able military chief. 
His passions are terrible. When I was President of the Senate he was a Sen 
ator ; and he could never speak on account of the rashness of his feelings. I 
have seen him attempt it repeatedly, and as often choke with rage. His pas 
sions are no doubt cooler now ; he has been much tried since I knew him, but 
he is a dangerous man. 

" When I was in France, the Marquis de Chasteleux carried me over to Buf- 
fon's residence in the country, and introduced me to him. 

" It was Buffon's practice to remain in his study till dinner time, and receive 
no visitors under any pretence ; but his house was open and his grounds, and a 
servant showed them very civilly, and invited all strangers and friends to remain 
to dine. We saw Buff on in the garden, but carefully avoided him ; but we 
dined with him, and he proved himself then, as he always did, a man of ex- 

332 THE WRITINGS OF [1825 

" with these corruptions it was perfect, and without them it 
would be an impracticable government." Can any one read Mr. 
Adams' defence of the American constitutions without seeing 
that he was a monarchist ? And J. Q. Adams, the son, was more 
explicit than the father, in his answer to Paine's rights of man. 
So much for leaders. Their followers were divided. Some went 
the same lengths, others, and I believe the greater part, only 
wished a stronger Executive. When I arrived at New York in 

traordinary powers in conversation. He did not declaim ; he was singularly 

" I was introduced to him as Mr. Jefferson, who, in some notes on Virginia, 
had combated some of his opinions. Instead of entering into an argument, he 
took down his last work, presented it to me, and said, ' When Mr. Jefferson 
shall have read this, he will be perfectly satisfied that I am right.' 

" Being about to embark from Philadelphia for France, I observed an un 
commonly large panther skin at the door of a hatter's shop. I bought it for 
half a Jo (sixteen dollars) on the spot, determining to carry it to France to con 
vince Monsieur Buffon of his mistake in relation to this animal ; which he had 
confounded with the cougar. He acknowledged his mistake, and said he would 
correct it in his next volume. 

" I attempted also to convince him of his error in relation to the common 
deer and the moose of America ; he having confounded our deer with the red 
deer of Europe, and our moose with the reindeer. I told him that our deer 
had horns two feet long ; he replied with warmth, that if I could produce a 
single specimen, with horns one foot long, he would give up the question. 
Upon this I wrote to Virginia for the horns of one of our deer, and obtained a 
very good specimen, four feet long. I told him also that the reindeer could 
walk under the belly of our moose ; but he entirely scouted the idea. Where 
upon I wrote to General Sullivan of New Hampshire. I desired him to send 
me the bones, skin, and antlers of our moose, supposing they could easily be 
procured by him. Six months afterwards my agent in England advised me 
that General Sullivan had drawn on him for forty guineas. I had forgotten my 
request, and wondered why such a draft had been made, but I paid it at once. 
A little later came a letter from General Sullivan, setting forth the manner in 
which he had complied with my request. He had been obliged to raise a com 
pany of nearly twenty men, had made an excursion towards the White Hills, 
camping out many nights, and had at last, after many difficulties, caught my 
moose, boiled his bones in the desert, stuffed his skin, and remitted him to me. 
This accounted for my debt and convinced Mr. Buffon. He promised in his 
next volume to set these things right also, but he died directly afterwards. 

" Madame Houdetot's society was one of the most agreeable in Paris when I 
was there. She inherited the materials of which it was composed from Madame 


1790, to take a part in the administration, being fresh from the 
French revolution, while in its first and pure stage, and conse 
quently somewhat whetted up in my own republican principles, 
I found a state of things, in the general society of the place, 
which I could not have supposed possible. Being a stranger 
there, I was feasted from table to table, at large set dinners, the 
parties generally from twenty to thirty. The revolution I had 
left, and that we had just gone through in the recent change of 
our own government, being the common topics of conversation, 
I was astonished to find the general prevalence of monarchical 
sentiments, insomuch that in maintaining those of republicanism, 
I had always the whole company on my hands, never scarcely 
finding among them a single co-advocate in that argument, un 
less some old member of Congress happened to be present. The 

de Terrier and Madame Geoffrin. St. Lambert was always there, and it was 
generally believed that every evening on his return home, he wrote down the 
substance of the conversations he had held there with D' Alembert, Diderot, and 
the other distinguished persons who frequented her house. From these con 
versations he made his books. 

" I knew the Baron de Grignon very well ; he was quite ugly, and one of his 
legs was shorter than the other ; but he was the most agreeable person in 
French society, and his opinion was always considered decisive in matters relat 
ing to the theatre and painting. His persiflage was the keenest and most 
provoking I ever knew. 

" Madame Necker was a very sincere and excellent woman, but she was not 
very pleasant in conversation, for she was subject to what in Virginia we call 
the ' Budge,' that is, she was very nervous and fidgety. She could rarely remain 
long in the same place, or converse long on the same subject. I have known 
her get up from table five or six times in the course of the dinner, and walk up 
and down her saloon to compose herself. 

" Marmontel was a very amusing man. He dined with me every Thursday 
for a long time, and I think told some of the most agreeable stories I ever 
heard in my life. After his death, I found almost all of them in his memoirs, 
and I dare say he told them so well because he had written them before in his 

" I wish Mr. Pickering would make a radical lexicon. It would do more 
than anything else in the present state of the matter, to promote the study of 
Greek among us. Jones's Greek lexicon is very poor. I have been much dis 
appointed in it. The best I have ever used is the Greek and French one by 

334 THE WRITINGS OF [1825 

furthest that any one would go, in support of the republican fea 
tures of our new government, would be to say, " the present consti 
tution is well as a beginning, and may be allowed a fair trial ; but 
it is, in fact, only a stepping stone to something better." Among 
their writers, Denny, the editor of the Portfolio, who was a kind 
of oracle with them, and styled the Addison of America, openly 
avowed his preference of monarchy over all other forms of gov 
ernment, prided himself on the avowal, and maintained it by 
argument freely and without reserve, in his publications. I do 
not, myself, know that the Essex junto of Boston were monarch 
ists, but I have always heard it so said, and never doubted. 

These, my dear Sir, are but detached items from a great mass 
of proofs then fully before the public. They are unknown to 
you, because you were absent in Europe, and they are now dis 
avowed by the party. But, had it not been for the firm and de 
termined stand then made by a counter-party, no man can say 
what our government would have been at this day. Monarchy, 
to be sure, is now defeated, and they wish it should be forgotten 
that it was ever advocated. They see that it is desperate, and 
treat its imputation to them as a calumny ; and I verily believe 
that none of them have it now in direct aim. Yet the spirit is 
not done away. The same party takes now what they deem 
the next best ground, the consolidation of the government ; the 
giving to the federal member of the government, by unlimited 
constructions of the constitution, a control over all the functions 
of the States, and the concentration of all power ultimately at 

The true history of that conflict of parties will never be in 
possession of the public, until, by the death of the actors in it, 
the hoards of their letters shall be broken up and given to the 
world. I should not fear to appeal to those of Harper himself, 
if he has kept copies of them, for abundant proof that he was 
himself a monarchist. I shall not live to see these unrevealed 
proofs, nor probably you ; for time will be requisite. But time 
will, in the end, produce the truth. And, after all, it is but a 
truth which exists in every country, where not suppressed by the 
rod of despotism. Men, according to their constitutions, and the 
circumstances in which they are placed, differ honestly in opin- 


ion. Some are whigs, liberals, democrats, call them what you 
please. Others are tories, serviles, aristocrats, &c. The latter 
fear the people, and wish to transfer all power to the higher 
classes of society ; the former consider the people as the safest de 
pository of power in the last resort ; they cherish them therefore, 
and wish to leave in them all the powers to the exercise of which 
they are competent. This is the division of sentiment now ex 
isting in the United States. It is the common division of whig 
and tory, or according to our denominations of republican and 
federal ; and is the most salutary of all divisions, and ought, 
therefore, to be fostered, instead of being amalgamated. For, 
take away this, and some more dangerous principle of division 
will take its place. But there is really no amalgamation. The 
parties exist now as heretofore. The one, indeed, has thrown 
off its old name, and has not yet assumed a new one, although 
obviously consolidationists. And among those in the offices of 
every denomination I believe it to be a bare minority. 

I have gone into these facts to show how one-sided a view of 
this case Harper has presented. I do not recall these recollec 
tions with pleasure, but rather wish to forget them, nor did I ever 
permit them to affect social intercourse. And now, least of all, 
am disposed to do so. Peace and good will with all mankind is 
my sincere wish. I willingly leave to the present generation to 
conduct their affairs as they please. And in my general affection 
to the whole human family, and my particular devotion to my 
friends, be assured of the high and special estimation in which 
yourself is cordially held. 


MONTICELLO, Jan. 8. 25. 

DEAR SIR, Your favor of Dec. 20. is received. The Profes 
sors of our University, 8. in number, are all engaged. Those of 
antient & modern languages are already on the spot. Three 
more are hourly expected to arrive, and on their arrival the whole 
will assemble and enter on their duties. There remains therefore 

1 From a copy courteously furnished by Dr. J. S. H. Fogg, of Boston. 

336 THE WRITINGS OF [1825 

no place in which we can avail ourselves of the services of the 
revd. Mr. Bertrum as a teacher. I wish we could do it as a 
Preacher. I am anxious to see the doctrine of one god com 
menced in our State. But the population of my neighborhood is 
too slender, and is too much divided into other sects to maintain 
any one Preacher well. I must therefore be contented to be an 
Unitarian by myself, altho I know there are many around me 
who would become so if once they could hear the question fairly 

Your account of Mr. Adams afflicts me deeply : and I join with 
him in the question, Is existence, such as either his or mine, 
worth anxiety for it's continuance. The value of life is equivocal 
with all its' faculties and channels of enjoyment in full exercise. 
But when these have been withdrawn from us by age, the balance 
of pain preponderates unequivocally. It is true that if my friend 
was doomed to a paralysis either of body or mind, he has been 
fortunate in retaining the vigor of his mind and memory. The 
most undesirable of all things is long life : and there is nothing I 
have ever so much dreaded. Altho' subject to occasional indis 
positions, my health is too good generally not to give me fears on 
that subject. I am weak indeed in body, able scarcely to walk 
into my garden without too much fatigue. But a ride of 6. 8. or 
10. miles a day gives me none. Still however a start or stumble 
of my horse, or some one of the many accidents which constantly 
beset us, may cut short the toughest thread of life, and relieve me 
from the evils of dotage. Come when it will, it will find me 
neither unready nor unwilling. To yourself I wish as long a life 
as you choose and health and prosperity to it's end. 


MONTO Jan. n. 25. 

DEAR SiR, Your favor of Dec. 28. is duly received, and glad 
dens me with the information that you continue to enjoy health ; 
it is a principal mitign of the evils of age. I wish that the situatn 
of our friend Mr. Adams was equally comfortable. But what I 
learn of his physical condition is truly deplorable. His mind 


however continues strong and firm, his memory sound, his hearing 
perfect & his spirits good. But both he and myself are at that 
term of life when there is nothing before us to produce anxiety 
for it's continuance. I am sorry for the occasion of expressing 
my condolance on the loss mento. in your letter. The solitude in 
which we are left by the death of our friends is one of the great 
evils of protracted life. When I look back to the days of my 
youth it is like looking over a field of battle. All, all dead ! and 
ourselves left alone midst a new genern whom we know not, and 
who know not us. I thank you beforehand for the book of your 
friend P. Vreede of which you have been so kind as to bespeak a 
copy for me. On the subject of my portefeuille, be assured it 
contains nothing but copies of my letters. In these I have some 
times indulged myself in reflections on the things which have 
been passing. Some of them, like that to the quaker to which you 
refer, may give a moment's amusement to a reader, and from the 
voluminous mass when I am dead, a selection may perhaps be 
made of a few which may have interest enough to bear a single 
reading. Mine has been too much a life of action to allow my 
mind to wander from the occurrences pressing on it. I have 
been lately reading a most extraordinary book, that of M. Flou- 
rens on the functions of the nervous system in vertebrated 
animals. He proves by too many, and too accurate experiments 
to admit contradiction, that from such animals the whole contents 
of the cerebrum may be taken out, leaving the cerebellum and the 
rest of the system uninjured, and the animal continue to live in 
perfect health an indefinite period. He mentions particularly a 
case of io months of survivance of a pullet. In that state the 
animal is deprived of every sense, of perception, intelligence, 
memory and thought of every degree. It will perish on a heap 
of grain unless you cram it down it's throat. It retains the powers 
of motion, but feeling no motive, it never moves unless from ex 
ternal excitement. He demonstrates in fact that the cerebrum is 
the organ of thought, and possesses alone the faculty of thinking. 
This is a terrible tub thrown out to the Athanasians. They must 
tell us whether the soul remains in the body in this state deprived 
of the power of thought ? Or does it leave the body as in death ? 
And where does it go ? Can it be received in heaven while it's 

VOL. X. 22 

338 THE WRITINGS OF [1825 

body is living on earth ? These and a multitude of other ques 
tions it will be incumbent on them to answer otherwise than by 
the dogma that every one who believeth not with them, without 
doubt shall perish everlastingly. The materialist fortified with 
these new proofs of his own creed, will hear with derision these 
Athanasian denunciations. It will not be very long before you 
and I shall know the truth of all this, and in the meantime I pray 
for the continuance of your health, contentment & comfort. 


MONTICELLO Feb. 13. '25. 

SIR, Your favor of the 3d was reed some days ago, and I have 
taken time to make a thorough search among my papers for what 
ever might relate to Mr. Sibley, but to no effective purpose. The 
part of his correspdce which related to public matters was with 
the Secy, at war. The few letters I have of his respect matters 
of curiosity, Indn vocabularies & things of that kind. When we 
acquired Louisiana we were exceedingly uninformed of every 
thing relating to it. I addressed enquiries to every individual of 
the country who I thought might give us informn, and I remem 
ber that I considered that furnished by Dr. Sibley as distinguished 
in it's value. At the ensuing Congress I communicated the whole 
to that body and it was printed and made a large 8vo ; the origin 
als, and their printed copy were probably burnt by the British, 
but the printed copy which I had kept for myself went afterwards 
to Washington with my library and may there be turned to. It 
will be found entered in the printed catalogue pa. 104, No. 261 
under the title of ' State papers 1793-1812. 36. v. 8vo.' The date 
of the communicn Nov. i4th, 1803 will point to the particular vol. 
In this will probably be found much of the informn received from 
Dr. Sibley, which will give an idea of the extent & value of his 
services to us on that occasion. 

With respect to the two articles particularly stated in your Ire I 
have carefully examd. all my papers & letters of the years 1804. 
& 1805, and do not find the scrip of a pen relating to them. My 
memory furnishes me with some general recollections on which I 


can depend as to De la Harpe's journal, but several of the partic 
ulars are too faintly recalled to be depended on. For example I 
am not certain whether the correspdce and orders on that subject 
passed between Govr. Claiborne & myself or the war office and 
Dr. Sibley. My impression altho' faint, is that it was Govr. Clai 
borne who informed me of the existence of that book in the hands 
of an individual, and that it could be purchased, giving such a de 
scription of it's contents as shewed it to be highly important to us 
in our then uninformed state. I think he had got his informn of 
it from Dr. Sibley. We directed the purchase to be made, & that 
before trusting the original to the mail, a copy should be taken 
(as I think, but your letter says two & it may be so) and sent by 
successive mails. They were safely reed, and I have believed the 
cost of the whole had been reimbursed promptly either to Clai 
borne or Dr. Sibley through whose agency it was obtained. The 
importance of the work consisted in this. De la Harpe was in 
some considble office in the govmt of Louisiana & kept a private 
and regular journal of the public transactions. The French con- 
sidd the Rio bravo as the Western boundary of Louisiana, but the 
Spaniards claimed indefinitely to the east of the river. The Fr. 
& Span, neighboring governors with certain mercantile assciates 
entered into a Contraband commerce, the former furnishing 
French merchandise, and receiving from the latter in exchange 
hard dollars. But the distance between N. O. & the Rio bravo 
occasd inconveniences & difficulties and therefore the French 
Govr. winked at the Spaniard's takg a small post at Nacagdoches, 
and made his reclmns so faintly as not to disturb the post. I 
cite these transactions by memory but believe without material 
error. When we acquired Louisiana we considd it as extending 
to the Rio Bravo and so Bonaparte declared to our Commission 
ers and that he should have taken possn to that extent. But 
Spain under color of the corrupt foothold she had got at this and 
one or two other small posts, claimed the country agt us on the 
ground of possn. This journal of De la Harpe clearly proves 
how fraudulently it had been obtained, and was therefore to us of 
the utmost importance. Hence our anxiety to guard against it's 
loss by having it copied and trusted to difft mails. The original 
being lodged in the office of the Secretary of State, I retained a 

340 THE WRITINGS OF [1825 

copy in my office, to be recurred to in preparing instrns for our 
Minister at Madrid. When I removd from Washington it was in 
advertently packed with my own books & papers, and not attended 
to until the burning of the public records at Washn. brought the 
thing to my mind. I immediately sent the copy to the Secretary 
of State in whose office it now doubtless is and will prove that it's 
importce justified the price it cost us. 

Of the other transaction respecting the purchases of horses &c. 
to bring a party of Indns to Washn. I have not the slightest trace 
either in writing or recollection. To the great value which was 
set on Dr. Sibley's services by the admn of that day I bear testi 
mony willingly as an act of duty & of truth. 

I am sorry that the decay of my memory does not permit me to 
offer anything further and pray you be assured of my great respect 
& esteem. 


MONTICELLO, February 21, 1825. 

This letter will, to you, be as one from the dead. The writer 
will be in the grave before you can weigh its counsels. Your 
affectionate and excellent father has requested that I would ad 
dress to you something which might possibly have a favorable 
influence on the course of life you have to run, and I too, as a 
namesake, feel an interest in that course. Few words will be 
necessary, with good dispositions on your part. Adore God. 
Reverence and cherish your parents. Love your neighbor as 
yourself, and your country more than yourself. Be just. Be true. 
Murmur not at the ways of Providence. So shall the life into 
which you have entered, be the portal to one of eternal and in 
effable bliss. And if to the dead it is permitted to care for the 
things of this world, every action of your life will be under my 
regard. Farewell. 

The portrait of a good man by the most sublime of poets, for 
your imitation. 

Lord, who 's the happy man that may to thy blest courts repair ; 
Not stranger-like to visit them but to inhabit there ? 


'T is he whose every thought and deed by rules of virtue moves ; 
Whose generous tongue disdains to speak the thing his heart disproves. 
Who never did a slander forge, his neighbor's fame to wound ; 
Nor hearken to a false report, by malice whispered round. 
Who vice in all its pomp and power, can treat with just neglect ; 
And piety, though clothed in rags, religiously respect. 
Who to his plighted vows and trust has ever firmly stood ; 
And though he promise to his loss, he makes his promise good. 
Whose soul in usury disdains his treasure to employ ; 
Whom no rewards can ever bribe the guiltless to destroy. 
The man, who, by this steady course, has happiness insur'd, 
When earth's foundations shake, shall stand, by Providence secur'd. 

A Decalogue of Canons for observation in practical life. 

1. Never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day. 

2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself. 

3. Never spend your money before you have it. 

4. Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap ; it will be dear to 

5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold. 

6. We never repent of having eaten too little. 

7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly. 

8. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened. 

9. Take things always by their smooth handle. 

10. When angry, count ten, before you speak ; if very angry, an hundred. 


MONTICELLO, April 3, 1825. 

DEAR SIR, Your favor of March 25th has been duly received. 
The fact is unquestionable, that the Bill of Rights, and the Con 
stitution of Virginia, were drawn originally by George Mason, 
one of our really great men, and of the first order of greatness. 
The history of the Preamble to the latter is this : I was then at 
Philadelphia with Congress ; and knowing that the Convention 
of Virginia was engaged in forming a plan of government, I 
turned my mind to the same subject, and drew a sketch or out 
line of a Constitution, with a preamble, which I sent to Mr. Pen- 
dleton, president of the convention, on the mere possibility that 
it might suggest something worth incorporation into that before 
the convention. He informed me afterwards by letter, that he 

342 THE WRITINGS OF [1825 

received it on the day on which the Committee of the Whole had 
reported to the House the plan they had agreed to ; that that 
had been so long in hand, so disputed inch by inch, and the 
subject of so much altercation and debate ; that they were worried 
with the contentions it had produced, and could not, from mere 
lassitude, have been induced to open the instrument again ; but 
that, being pleased with the Preamble to mine, they adopted it 
in the House, by way of amendment to the Report of the Com 
mittee ; and thus my Preamble became tacked to the work of 
George Mason. The Constitution, with the Preamble, was 
passed on the 29th of June, and the Committee of Congress had 
only the day before that reported to that body the draught of the 
Declaration of Independence. The fact is, that that Preamble 
was prior in composition to the Declaration ; and both having the 
same object, of justifying our separation from Great Britain, they 
used necessarily the same materials of justification, and hence 
their similitude. 

Withdrawn by age from all other public services and attentions 
to public things, I am closing the last scenes of life by fashion 
ing and fostering an establishment for the instruction of those 
who are to come after us. I hope its influence on their virtue, 
freedom, fame and happiness, will be salutary and permanent. 
The form and distributions of its structure are original and 
unique, the architecture chaste and classical, and the whole well 
worthy of attracting the curiosity of a visit. Should it so prove 
to yourself at any time, it will be a great gratification to me to 
see you once more at Monticello ; and I pray you to be assured 
of my continued and high respect and esteem. 


MONTICELLO, May 8, 1825. 

DEAR SIR, * * * That George Mason was author of the 
bill of rights, and of the constitution founded on it, the evidence 
of the day established fully in my mind. Of the paper you men 
tion, purporting to be instructions to the Virginia delegation in 
Congress, I have no recollection. If it were anything more than 


a project of some private hand, that is to say, had any such in 
structions been ever given by the convention, they would appear 
in the journals, which we possess entire. But with respect to our 
rights, and the acts of the British government contravening those 
rights, there was but one opinion on this side of the water. All 
American whigs thought alike on these subjects. When forced, 
therefore, to resort to arms for redress, an appeal to the tribunal 
of the world was deemed proper for our justification. This was 
the object of the Declaration of Independence. Not to find out 
new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not 
merely to say things which had never been said before ; but to 
place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms 
so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify our 
selves in the independent stand we are compelled to take. Neither 
aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied 
from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be 
an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expres 
sion the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion. All 
its authority rests then on the harmonizing sentiments of the day, 
whether expressed in conversation, in letters, printed essays, or 
in the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, 
Sidney, &c. The historical documents which you mention as in 
your possession, ought all to be found, and I am persuaded you 
will find, to be corroborative of the facts and principles advanced 
in that Declaration. Be pleased to accept assurances of my great 
esteem and respect. 


MONTICELLO, August 7, 1825. 

I have duly received, dear Madam, your letter of July 26th, 
and learn from it with much regret, that Miss Wright, your 
sister, is so much indisposed as to be obliged to visit our medic 
inal springs. I wish she may be fortunate in finding those which 
may be adapted to her case. We have taken too little pains to 
ascertain the properties of our different mineral waters, the cases 
in which they are respectively remedial, the proper process in 

344 THE WRITINGS OF [1825 

their use, and other circumstances necessary to give us their full 
value. My own health is very low, not having been able to 
leave the house for three months, and suffering much at times. 
In this state of body and mind, your letter could not have found 
a more inefficient counsellor, one scarcely able to think or to 
write. At the age of eighty-two, with one foot in the grave, 
and the other uplifted to follow it, I do not permit myself to take 
part in any new enterprises, even for bettering the condition of 
man, not even in the great one which is the subject of your 
letter, and which has been through life that of my greatest anx 
ieties. The inarch of events has not been such as to render its 
completion practicable within the limits of time allotted to me ; 
and I leave its accomplishment as the work of another genera 
tion. And I am cheered when I see that on which it is de 
volved, taking it up with so much good will, and such minds 
engaged in its encouragement. The abolition of the evil is not 
impossible ; it ought never therefore to be despaired of. Ever)' 
plan should be adopted, every experiment tried, which may do 
something towards the ultimate object. That which you pro 
pose is well worthy of trial. It has succeeded with certain por 
tions of our white brethren, under the care of a Rapp and an 
Owen ; and why may it not succeed with the man of color ? An 
opinion is hazarded by some, but proved by none, that moral ur 
gencies are not sufficient to induce him to labor ; that nothing 
can do this but physical coercion. But this is a problem which 
the present age alone is prepared to solve by experiment. It 
would be a solecism to suppose a race of animals created, with 
out sufficient foresight and energy to preserve their own exist 
ence. It is disproved, too, by the fact that they exist, and have 
existed through all the ages of history. We are not sufficiently 
acquainted with all the nations of Africa, to say that there may 
not be some in which habits of industry are established, and the 
arts practised which are necessary to render life comfortable. 
The experiment now in progress in St. Domingo, those of Sierra 
Leone and Cape Mesurado, are but beginning. Your proposition 
has its aspects of promise also ; and should it not answer fully to 
calculations in figures, it may yet, in its developments, lead to 
happy results. These, however, I must leave to another genera- 


tion. The enterprise of a different, but yet important character, 
in which I have embarked too late in life, I find more than suf 
ficient to occupy the enfeebled energies remaining to me, and 
that to divert them to other objects, would be a desertion of 
these. You are young, dear Madam, and have powers of mind 
which may do much in exciting others in this arduous task. I 
am confident they will be so exerted, and I pray to heaven for 
their success, and that you may be rewarded with the blessings 
which such efforts merit. 


MONTICELLO, September 16, 1825. 

DEAR SIR, I am not able to give you any particular account 
of the paper handed you by Mr. Lee, as being either the original 
or a copy of the Declaration of Independence, sent by myself to 
his grandfather. The draught, when completed by myself, with 
a few verbal amendments by Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams, two 
members of the committee, in their own hand-writing, is now in 
my own possession, and a fair copy of this was reported to the 
committee, passed by them without amendment, and then re 
ported to Congress. This latter should be among the records 
of the old Congress ; and whether this or the one from which it 
was copied and now in my hands, is to be called the original, is 
a question of definition. To that in my hands, if worth pre 
serving, my relations with our University gives irresistible claims. 
Whenever, in the course of the composition, a copy became over 
charged, and difficult to be read with amendments, I copied it 
fair, and when that also was crowded with other amendments, 
another fair copy was made, &c. These rough draughts I sent 
to distant friends who were anxious to know what was passing. 
But how many, and to whom, I do not recollect. One sent to 
Mazzei was givenby him to the Countess de Tessie (aunt of 
Madame de Lafayette) as the original, and is probably now in 
the hands of her family. Whether the paper sent to R. H. Lee 
was one of these, or whether, after the passage of the instrument, 
I made a copy for him, with the amendments of Congress, may, 

346 THE WRITINGS OF [1825 

I think, be known from the face of the paper. The documents 
Mr. Lee has given you must be of great value, and until all these 
private hoards are made public, the real history of the revolution 
will not be known. 


MONTICELLO, September 26, 1825. 

DEAR SIR, It is not for me to estimate the importance of 
the circumstances concerning which your letter of the 8th makes 
inquiry. They prove, even in their minuteness, the sacred at 
tachments of our fellow citizens to the event of which the paper 
of July 4th, 1776, was but the declaration, the genuine effusion 
of the soul of our country at that time. Small things may, 
perhaps, like the relics of saints, help to nourish our devo 
tion to this holy bond of our Union, and keep it longer alive 
and warm in our affections. This effect may give importance to 
circumstances, however small. At the time of writing that in 
strument, I lodged in the house of a Mr. Graaf, a new brick 
house, three stories high, of which I rented the second floor, con 
sisting of a parlor and bed-room, ready furnished. In that parlor 
I wrote habitually, and in it wrote this paper, particularly. So 
far I state from written proofs in my possession. The proprietor, 
Graaf, was a young man, son of a German, and then newly mar 
ried. I think he was a bricklayer, and that his house was on 
the south side of Market street, probably between Seventh and 
Eighth streets, and if not the only house on that part of the street, 
I am sure there were few others near it. I have some idea that 
it was a corner house, but no other recollections throwing light 
on the question, or worth communication. I am ill, therefore 
only add assurance of my great respect and esteem. 


MONTICELLO Dec. 18. 25. 

DEAR SIR, Your letters are always welcome, the 
last more than all others, it's subject being one of 
the dearest to my heart. To my granddaughter your 


commendations cannot fail to be an object of high 
ambition, also certain passports to the good opinion 
of the world. If she does not cultivate them with 
assiduity and affection, she will illy fulfill my parting 
injunctions. I trust she will merit a continuance of 
your favor, and find in her new situation the general 
esteem she so happily possessed in the society she 
left. You tell me she repeated to you an expression 
of mine that I should be willing to go again over the 
scenes of past life. I should not be unwilling, with 
out however wishing it. And why not ? I have en 
joyed a greater share of health than falls to the lot 
of most men ; and my spirits have never failed me 
except under those paroxysms of grief which you, as 
well as myself, have experienced in every form : 
and with good health and good spirits the pleasures 
surely outweigh the pains of life. Why not then 
taste them again, fat and lean together. Were I 
indeed permitted to cut off from the train the last 
seven years, the balance would be much in favor of 
treading the ground over again, being at that period 
in the neighborhood of our Warm springs, and well 
in health. I wished to be better, and tried them. 
They destroyed in a great degree, my internal organ 
ism, and I have never since had a moment of perfect 
health. I have now been 8 months confined almost 
constantly to the house, with now and then intervals 
of a few days on which I could get on horseback. 

I presume you have received a copy of the life of 
Richd. H. Lee from his grandson of the same name, 
author of the work. You and I know that he merited 

348 THE WRITINGS OF [1825 

much during the revolution. Eloquent, bold and 
ever watchful at his post, of which his biographer 
omits no proof. I am not certain whether the friends 
of George Mason, of Patrick Henry, yourself, and 
even of Genl. Washington may not reclaim some 
feathers of the plumage given him, noble as was his 
proper and original coat. But on this subject I will 
not anticipate your own judgment. 

I learn with sincere pleasure that you have ex 
perienced lately a great renovation of your health. 
That it may continue to the ultimate period of your 
wishes is the sincere prayer of us quere ad aras ami- 
cissime tui. 


MONTICELLO, December 24, 1825. 

DEAR SIR, I have for some time considered the question of 
internal improvement as desperate. The torrent of general opin 
ion sets so strongly in favor of it as to be irresistible. And I 
suppose that even the opposition in Congress will hereafter be 
feeble and formal, unless something can be done which may give 
a gleam of encouragement to our friends, or alarm their oppo 
nents in their fancied security. I learn from Richmond that 
those who think with us there are in a state of perfect dismay, 
not knowing what to do or what to propose. Mr. Gordon, our 
representative, particularly, has written to me in very desponding 
terms, not disposed to yield indeed, but pressing for opinions and 
advice on the subject. I have no doubt you are pressed in the 
same way, and I hope you have devised and recommended some 
thing to them. If you have, stop here and read no more, but 
consider all that follows as non-avenue. I shall be better satis 
fied to adopt implicitly anything which you may have advised, 
than anything occurring to myself. For I have long ceased to 
think on subjects of this kind, and pay little attention to public 


proceedings. But if you have done nothing in it, then I risk 
for your consideration what has occurred to me, and is expressed 
in the enclosed paper. Bailey's propositions, which came to hand 
since I wrote the paper, and which I suppose to have come from 
the President himself, show a little hesitation in the purposes of 
his party ; and in that state of mind, a bolt shot critically may de 
cide the contest by its effect on the less bold. The olive branch 
held out to them at this moment may be accepted and the con 
stitution thus saved at a moderate sacrifice. I say nothing of the 
paper, which will explain itself. The following heads of con 
sideration, or some of them, may weigh in its favor : 

It may intimidate the wavering. It may break the western 
coalition, by offering the same thing in a different form. It will 
be viewed with favor in contrast with the Georgia opposition and 
fear of strengthening that. It will be an example of a temperate 
mode of opposition in future and similar cases. It will delay the 
measure a year at least. It will give us the chance of better 
times and of intervening accidents ; and in no way place us in 
a worse than our present situation. I do not dwell on these top 
ics ; your mind will develop them. 

The first question is, whether you approve of doing anything 
of the kind. If not, send it back to me, and it shall be sup 
pressed ; for I would not hazard so important a measure against 
your opinion, nor even without its support. If you think it may 
be a canvass on which to put something good, make what altera 
tions you please, and I will forward it to Gordon, under the most 
sacred injunctions that it shall be so used as that not a shadow of 
suspicion shall fall on you or myself, that it has come from either 
of us. But what you do, do as promptly as your convenience 
will admit, lest it shall be anticipated by something worse. 1 

1 " The solemn Declaration and Protest of the commonwealth of Virginia on 
the principles of the constitution of the US. of America & on the violations of 

We the General Assembly of Virginia, on behalf, and in the name of the 
people thereof do declare as follows. 

The states in N. America which confederated to establish their independance 
of the government of Great Britain, of which Virginia was one, became, on that 

35o THE WRITINGS OF [1825 


MONTICELLO, December 25, 1825. 

DEAR SIR, Your favor of the 15th was received four days 
ago. It found me engaged in what I could not lay aside till this 

acquisition, free and independant states, and as such authorised to constitute 
governments, each for itself, in such form as it thought best. 

They entered into a compact (which is called the Constitution of the US. 
of America) by which they agreed to unite in a single government as to their 
relations with each other, and with foreign nations, and as to certain other 
articles particularly specified. They retained at the same time, each to itself 
the other rights of independant government comprehending mainly their 
domestic interests. 

For the administration of their Federal branch they agreed to appoint, in 
conjunction, a distinct set of functionaries, legislative, executive and judiciary, 
in the manner settled in that compact : while to each severally and of course, 
remained it's original right of appointing, each for itself, a separate set of func 
tionaries, legislative, executive and judiciary also, for administering the 
Domestic branch of their respective governments. 

Those two sets of officers, each independant of the other, constitute thus a 
whole of government, for each state separately the powers ascribed to the one, 
as specifically made federal, exercisable over the whole, the residuary powers, 
retained to the other, exercisable exclusively over it's particular state, foreign 
herein, each to the others, as they were before their original compact. 

To this construction of government & distribution of it's powers, the Com 
monwealth of Virginia does religiously and affectionately adhere, opposing 
with equal fidelity and firmness, the usurpation of either set of functionaries on 
the rightful powers of the other. 

But the federal branch has assumed in some cases and claimed in others, a 
right of enlarging it's own powers by constructions, inferences, and indefinite 
deductions, from those directly given, which this assembly does declare to be 
usurpations of the powers retained to the independant branches, mere interpo 
lations into the compact, and direct infractions of it. 

They claim, for example, and have commenced the exercise of a right to 
construct roads, open canals, & effect other internal improvements within the 
territories and jurisdictions exclusively belonging to the several states, which this 
assembly does declare has not been given to that branch by the constitutional 
compact, but remain to each state among it's domestic and unalienated powers 
exercisable within itself, and by it's domestic authorities alone. 

This assembly does further disavow, and declare to be most false and un 
founded, the doctrine, that the compact, in authorising it's federal branch to lay 
and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises to pay the debts and provide for 


Far advanced in my eighty-third year, worn down with infirm 
ities which have confined me almost entirely to the house for 
seven or eight months past, it afflicts me much to receive appeals 
to my memory for transactions so far back as that which is the 
subject of your letter. My memory is indeed become almost a 
blank, of which no better proof can probably be given you than 

the common defence and general welfare of the U S. has given them thereby a 
power to do whatever they may think, or pretend, would promote the general 
welfare, which construction would make that, of itself, a complete government, 
without limitation of powers ; but that the plain sense and obvious meaning was 
that they might levy the taxes necessary to provide for the general welfare by 
the various acts of power therein specified and delegated to them, and by no 

Nor is it admitted, as has been said, that the people of these states, by not 
investing their federal branch with all means of bettering their condition, have 
denied to themselves any which may effect that purpose since, in the distribution 
of these means, they have given to that branch those which belong to it's de 
partment, and to the states have reserved separately the residue which belong 
to them separately. And thus by the organization of the two branches taken 
together, have completely secured the first object of human association, the full 
improvement of their condition, and reserved to themselves all the faculties of 
multiplying their own blessings. 

Whilst the General assembly thus declares the rights retained by the states, 
rights which they have never yielded, and which this state will never voluntarily 
yield, they do not mean to raise the banner of disaffection, or of separation from 
their sister-states, co-parties with themselves to this compact. They know 
and value too highly the blessings of their union as to foreign nations and ques 
tions arising among themselves, to consider every infraction as to be met by 
actual resistance ; they respect too affectionately the opinions of those possess 
ing the same rights under the same instrument, to make every difference of con 
struction a ground of immediate rupture. They would indeed consider such a 
rupture as among the greatest calamities which could befall them ; but not the 
greatest. There is yet one greater, submission to a government of unlimited 
powers. It is only when the hope of avoiding this shall become absolutely 
desperate that further forbearance could not be indulged. Should a majority of 
the Co-parties therefore contrary to the expectation and hope of this assembly, 
prefer at this time, acquiescence in these assumptions of power by the federal 
member of the government, we will be patient and suffer much, under the con 
fidence that time, ere it be too late, will prove to them also the bitter conse 
quences in which this usurpation will involve us all. In the mean while we will 
breast with them, rather than separate from them, every misfortune save that 
only of living under a government of unlimited powers. We owe every other 
sacrifice to ourselves, to our federal brethren, and to the world at large, to 

352 THE WRITINGS OF [1825 

by my solemn protestation, that I have not the least recollection 
of your intervention between Mr. John Q. Adams and myself, in 
what passed on the subject of the embargo. Not the slightest 
trace of it remains in my mind. Yet I have no doubt of the 

pursue with temper and perseverance the great experiment which shall prove that 
man is capable of living in society, governing itself by laws self-imposed, and 
securing to it's members the enjoyment of life, liberty, property and peace ; and 
further to shew that even when the government of it's choice shall shew a ten 
dency to degeneracy, we are not at once to despair but that the will & the 
watchfulness of it's sounder parts will reform it's aberrations, recall it to 
original and legitimate principles and restrain it within the rightful limits of self- 
government. And these are the objects of this Declaration and Protest. 

Supposing then that it might be for the good of the whole, as some of it's 
Co-states seem to think, that this power of making roads and canals should be 
added to those directly given to the federal branch, as more likely to be 
systematically and beneficially directed, than by the independant action of the 
several states, this Commonwealth, from respect to these opinions, and a desire 
of conciliation with it's Co-states, will consent, in concurrence with them, to 
make this addition, provided it be done regularly by an amendment of the com 
pact, in the way established by that instrument, and provided also it be sufficiently 
guarded against abuses, compromises, and corrupt practices, not only of pos 
sible, but of probable occurrence. And as a further pledge of the sincere and 
cordial attachment of this commonwealth to the Union of the whole so far as 
has been consented to by the compact called ' the Constitution of the US. of 
America* (construed according to the plain and ordinary meaning of it's 
language, to the common intendment of the time, and of those who framed it) 
to give also to all parties and authorities time for reflection, and for consideration 
whether, under a temperate view of the possible consequences, and especially 
of the constant obstructions which an equivocal majority must ever expect to 
meet, they will still prefer the assumption of this power rather than it's accept 
ance from the free will of their constituents, and to preserve peace in the 
meanwhile, we proceed to make it the duty of our citizens, until the legislature 
shall otherwise & ultimately decide, to acquiesce under those acts of the federal 
branch of our government which we have declared to be usurpations, and 
against which, in point of right, we do protest as null and void, and never to be 
quoted as precedents of right. 

We therefore do enact, and be it enacted by the General assembly of 
Virginia that all citizens of this commonwealth, and persons and authorities 
within the same, shall pay full obedience at all times to the Acts which may be 
past by the Congress of the US. the object of which shall be the construction of 
post roads, making canals of navigation, and maintaining the same in any part 
of the US. in like manner as if the said acts were, totidem verbis past by the 
legislature of this commonwealth." 


exactitude of the statement in your letter. And the less, as I 
recollect the interview with Mr. Adams, to which the previous 
communications which had passed between him and yourself were 
probably and naturally the preliminary. That interview I remem 
ber well ; not indeed in the very words which passed between us, 
but in their substance, which was of a character too awful, too 
deeply engraved in my mind, and influencing too materially the 
course I had to pursue, ever to be forgotten. Mr. Adams called 
on me pending the embargo, and while endeavors were making to 
obtain its repeal. He made some apologies for the call, on the 
ground of our not being then in the habit of confidential commu 
nications, but that that which he had then to make, involved too 
seriously the interest of our country not to overrule all other con 
siderations with him, and make it his duty to reveal it to myself 
particularly. I assured him there was no occasion for any apol 
ogy for his visit ; that, on the contrary, his communications would 
be thankfully received, and would add a confirmation the more to 
my entire confidence in the rectitude and patriotism of his con 
duct and principles. He spoke then of the dissatisfaction of the 
eastern portion of our confederacy with the restraints of the em 
bargo then existing, and their restlessness under it. That there 
was nothing which might not be attempted, to rid themselves of 
it. That he had information of the most unquestionable certainty, 
that certain citizens of the eastern States (I think he named 
Massachusetts particularly) were in negotiation with agents of 
the British government, the object of which was an agreement 
that the New England States should take no further part in the 
war then going on ; that, without formally declaring their separa 
tion from the Union of the States, they should withdraw from all 
aid and obedience to them ; that their navigation and commerce 
should be free from restraint and interruption by the British ; that 
they should be considered and treated by them as neutrals, and 
as such might conduct themselves towards both parties ; and, at 
the close of the war, be at liberty to rejoin the confederacy. He 
assured me that there was eminent danger that the convention 
would take place ; that the temptations were such as might de 
bauch many from their fidelity to the Union ; and that, to enable 
its friends to make head against it, the repeal of the embargo was 

354 THE WRITINGS OF [1825 

absolutely necessary. I expressed a just sense of the merit of 
this information, and of the importance of the disclosure to the 
safety and even the salvation of our country ; and however reluc 
tant I was to abandon the measure, (a measure which persevered 
in a little longer, we had subsequent and satisfactory assurance 
would have effected its object completely,) from that moment, 
and influenced by that information, I saw the necessity of aban 
doning it, and instead of effecting our purpose by this peaceful 
weapon, we must fight it out, or break the Union. I then recom 
mended to yield to the necessity of a repeal of the embargo, and 
to endeavor to supply its place by the best substitute, in which 
they could procure a general concurrence. 

I cannot too often repeat, that this statement is not pretended 
to be in the very words which passed ; that it only gives faithfully 
the impression remaining on my mind. The very words of a con 
versation are too transient and fugitive to be so long retained in 
remembrance. But the substance was too important to be for 
gotten, not only from the revolution of measures it obliged me to 
adopt, but also from the renewals of it in my memory on the fre 
quent occasions I have had of doing justice to Mr. Adams, by 
repeating this proof of his fidelity to his country, and of his supe 
riority over all ordinary considerations when the safety of that 
was brought into question. 

With this best exertion of a waning memory which I can com 
mand, accept assurances of my constant and affectionate friendship 
and respect. 


MONTICELLO, December 26, 1825. 

DEAR SIR, I wrote you a 'letter yesterday, of which you will 
be free to make what use you please. This will contain matters 
not intended for the public eye. I see, as you do, and with the 
deepest affliction, the rapid strides with which the federal branch 
of our government is advancing towards the usurpation of all the 
rights reserved to the States, and the consolidation in itself of 
all powers, foreign and domestic ; and that, too, by constructions 


which, if legitimate, leave no limits to their power. Take to 
gether the decisions of the federal court, the doctrines of the 
President, and the misconstructions of the constitutional compact 
acted on by the legislature of the federal branch, and it is but too 
evident, that the three ruling branches of that department are in 
combination to strip their colleagues, the State authorities, of 
the powers reserved by them, and to exercise themselves all func 
tions foreign and domestic. Under the power to regulate com 
merce, they assume indefinitely that also over agriculture and 
manufactures, and call it regulation to take the earnings of one 
of these branches of industry, and that too the most depressed, 
and put them into the pockets of the other, the most flourishing 
of all. Under the authority to establish post roads, they claim 
that of cutting down mountains for the construction of roads, of 
digging canals, and aided by a little sophistry on the words 
" general welfare," a right to do, not only the acts to effect that, 
which are specifically enumerated and permitted, but whatsoever 
they shall think, or pretend will be for the general welfare. 
And what is our resource for the preservation of the constitution ? 
Reason and argument ? You might as well reason and argue 
with the marble columns encircling them. The representatives 
chosen by ourselves ? They are joined in the combination, 
some from incorrect views of government, some from corrupt 
ones, sufficient voting together to out-number the sound parts ; 
and with majorities only of one, two, or three, bold enough to go 
forward in defiance. Are we then to stand to our arms, with 
the hot-headed Georgian ? No. That must be the last resource, 
not to be thought of until much longer and greater sufferings. 
If every infraction of a compact of so many parties is to be 
resisted at once, as a dissolution of it, none can ever be formed 
which would last one year. We must have patience and longer 
endurance then with our brethren while under delusion ; give 
them time for reflection and experience of consequences ; keep 
ourselves in a situation to profit by the chapter of accidents ; and 
separate from our companions only when the sole alternatives 
left, are the dissolution of our Union with them, or submission 
to a government without limitation of powers. Between these 
two evils, when we must make a choice, there can be no hesita- 

356 THE WRITINGS OF [1825 

tion. But in the meanwhile, the States should be watchful to 
note every material usurpation on their rights ; to denounce them 
as they occur in the most peremptory terms ; to protest against 
them as wrongs to which our present submission shall be con 
sidered, not as acknowledgments or precedents of right, but as a 
temporary yielding to the lesser evil, until their accumulation 
shall overweigh that of separation. I would go still further, and 
give to the federal member, by a regular amendment of the con 
stitution, a right to make roads and canals of intercommunication 
between the States, providing sufficiently against corrupt prac 
tices in Congress, (log-rolling, &c.,) by declaring that the federal 
proportion of each State of the moneys so employed, shall be in 
works within the State, or elsewhere with its consent, and with a 
due salvo of jurisdiction. This is the course which I think safest 
and best as yet. 

You ask my opinion of the propriety of giving publicity to 
what is stated in your letter, as having passed between Mr. John 
Q. Adams and yourself. Of this no one can judge but yourself. 
It is one of those questions which belong to the forum of feeling. 
This alone can decide on the degree of confidence implied in the 
disclosure ; whether under no circumstances it was to be com 
municated to others ? It does not seem to be of that character, 
or at all to wear that aspect. They are historical facts which 
belong to the present, as well as future times. I doubt whether 
a single fact, known to the world, will carry as clear conviction 
to it, of the correctness of our knowledge of the treasonable 
views of the federal party of that day, as that disclosed by this, 
the most nefarious and daring attempt to dissever the Union, of 
which the Hartford convention was a subsequent chapter ; and 
both of these having failed, consolidation becomes the fourth 
chapter of the next book of their history. But this opens with a 
vast accession of strength from their younger recruits, who, hav 
ing nothing in them of the feelings or principles of '76, now look 
to a single and splendid government of an aristocracy, founded 
on banking institutions, and moneyed incorporations under the 
guise and cloak of their favored branches of manufactures, com 
merce and navigation, riding and ruling over the plundered 
ploughman and beggared yeomanry. This will be to them a next 

1825] THOMAS JEFFEltSON. 357 

best blessing to the monarchy of their first aim, and perhaps the 
surest stepping-stone to it. 

I learn with great satisfaction that your school is thriving well, 
and that you have at its head a truly classical scholar. He is 
one of three or four whom I can hear of in the State. We 
were obliged the last year to receive shameful Latinists into the 
classical school of the University, such as we will certainly refuse 
as soon as we can get from better schools a sufficiency of those 
properly instructed to form a class. We must get rid of this 
Connecticut Latin, of this barbarous confusion of long and short 
syllables, which renders doubtful whether we are listening to a 
reader of Cherokee, Shawnee, Iroquois, or what. Our Univer 
sity has been most fortunate in the five professors procured from 
England. A finer selection could not have been made. Besides 
their being of a grade of science which has left little superior 
behind, the correctness of their moral character, their accommo 
dating dispositions, and zeal for the prosperity of the institution, 
leave us nothing more to wish. I verily believe that as high a 
degree of education can now be obtained here, as in the country 
they left. And a finer set of youths I never saw assembled for 
instruction. They committed some irregularities at first, until 
they learned the lawful length of their tether ; since which it has 
never been transgressed in the smallest degree. A great propor 
tion of them are severely devoted to study, and I fear not to say 
that within twelve or fifteen years from this time, a majority of 
the rulers of our State will have been educated here. They 
shall carry hence the correct principles of our day, and you may 
count assuredly that they will exhibit their country in a degree 
of sound respectability it has never known, either in our days, 
or those of our forefathers. I cannot live to see it. My joy 
must only be that of anticipation. But that you may see it in 
full fruition, is the probable consequence of the twenty years I 
am ahead of you in time, and is the sincere prayer of your affec 
tionate and constant friend. 

358 THE WRITINGS OF [1826 


MONTO. Jan. i, 26. 

DEAR SIR, I cannot blame you, if you have been thinking 
hardly of my long delay in answering your favor of the roth ult. 
But knowing the state of my health these thoughts will vanish 
from your mind. It is now 3. weeks since a re-ascerbation of my 
painful complaint has confined me to the house and indeed to my 
couch. Required to be constantly recumbent I wrote slowly and 
with difficulty. Yesterday for the ist time I was able to leave the 
house and to resume a posture which enables me to begin to an 
swer the letters which have been accumulating, and I take up 
yours first. Weakened in body by infirmities and in mind by 
age, now far gone in my 83d year, reading one newspaper only 
and forgetting immediately what I read in that, I am unable to 
give counsel in cases of difficulty, and our present one is truly a 
case of difficulty. It is but too evident that the branches of our 
foreign department of govmt. Exve, judiciary and legislative are in 
combination to usurp the powers of the domestic branch also re 
served to the states and consolidate themselves into a single govmt 
without limitn of powers. I will not trouble you with details of 
the instances which are threadbare and unheeded. The only 
question is what is to be done ? Shall we give up the ship ? No, 
by heavens, while a hand remains able to keep the deck. Shall 
we with the hot-headed Georgian, stand at once to our arms ? 
Not yet, nor until the evil, the only greater one than separn, shall 
be all but upon us, that of living under a government of discre 
tion. Between these alternatives there can be no hesitation. 
But again, what are we to do ? I am glad I did not answer 
earlier, for a fortnight ago might have called for a different an 
swer. Since that the S. C. resolutions are become known. Van 
Buren's motion and Baylie's proposn to yield the power of roads 
and canals, provided it be regularly by an amdmt of the constn 
and guarded against abusive practices under it. We had better 
at present rest awhile on our oars and see which way the tide will 
set, in Congress and in the state legislatures. Perhaps it will be 
better for Virginia to follow than take the lead in whatever is to 
be done. A Majority of the people are against us on this ques- 


tion. The Western states have especially been bribed by local 
considns to abandon their antient brethren and enlist under ban 
ners alien to them in principles & interest. If in this state of 
things we can make such a compromise as Baylie proposes, we 
shall save and at the same time improve our constn, for I think 
that with suffict guards it will be a wholesome amdmt. And not 
doubting but that it comes from the president himself we may 
hope it 's success under such auspices. If I had an opn therefore 
it would be for lying still awhile. But I have none. I have 
neither matter nor mind to form one. And I pray that what I 
have now hazarded to you as a friend may be sacredly locked up 
in your own breast. For abandoning, as it is time, to the genern 
now on the stage, the entire management of their own affairs, I 
should deem it the greatest of all calamities to be implicated, at 
this period of life in embroilment of which I wish never to think 
again. Yesterday the last of the year closed the 6ist of my con 
tinued services to the public. I came into it as soon as of age 
which was in 1764. beginning with the court of my county, then 
their Representative [illegible] Governor, Congress, M.P. Secy of 
State V. President Presid. [illegible']. 


MONTICELLO Jan. 2 26. 

DEAR SIR, I now return you Ritchie's letter and your answer. 
I have read the last with entire approbation and adoption of it's 
views. When my paper was written all was gloom, and the ques 
tion of roads and canals was thought desperate at Washington 
after the President's message. Since that however have appeared 
the S. C. resolns, Van Buren's motion, and above all Baylie's 
proposn of Amdmt, believed to come from the President himself, 
who may have motives for it. After these, before we can see 
their issue my proposn would certainly be premature. I think 
with you too that any measures of opposition would come with 
more hope from any other state than from Virginia, and S. C. N. 
Y. and Massachusetts being willing to take the lead, we had bet 
ter follow. I have therefore suppressed my paper, and recom- 

360 THE WRITINGS OF [1826 

mend to Gordon to do nothing until we see the course Bailey's 
proposn will take, which I think a desirable one in itself. 

I have been quite anxious to get a good drawing master in the 
Military or landscape line for the University. It is a branch of 
male educn most highly & justly valued on the continent of 
Europe. One most highly recommended as a landscape painter 
and as a personal character offered himself under a mistaken ex- 
pectn as to the emoluments. I authorized Dr. Emmet to speak 
with him on the subject, and inclose you his letter. Rembrandt 
Peale, whose opinion I asked is as high in his praises as Emmet. 
I fear his present birth is too good to leave it for ours under it's 
present uncertainties. His predilection to come to us might 
have some weight. Whether the offer to pay the expenses of his 
removal might be sufficient for him and approvable by us is a 
question. There is a more advantageous offer we might make 
him. You know we have 2. pavilions not yet occupied, nor 
likely soon to be so. A rent of 8. p. c. would be 600 D. a year. 
We could let him have the occupn gratis until an addition to our 
Professors might call for a resumption of it. I shall suggest this 
offer to Emmet but to avoid all engagement till the sanction of 
the Visitors should be obtained. Be so good as to return me the 
letter. Ever & affectly yours. 


MONTICELLO, Jan. 8, '26. 

DEAR SIR, I have for sometime entertained the hope that 
your affairs being once wound up, your mind would cease to 
look back on them, and resume the calm so necessary to your 
own happiness, and that of your family and friends ; and especi 
ally that you would return again to their society. I hope there 
remains no reason now to delay this longer, and that you will 
rejoin our table and fireside as heretofore. It is now that the 
value of education will prove itself to you, in the resource to 
books of which it has qualified you to avail yourself, and which, 
aided by the conversation and endearments of your family, and 

1 From the original in the possession of Archibald Gary Coolidge. 


every comfort which this place can be made to afford you, will I 
hope, ensure to you future ease and happiness. Be assured that 
to no one will your society be more welcome than to myself, and 
that my affectionate friendship to you and respect, remain con 
stant & sincere. 1 


MONTICELLO Jan. 18, 26. 

DEAR SIR, Yours of the nth is received. Those of Nov. 2. 
and Dec. 14. had been so in due time. I suppose I had not 
acknoleged them specifically from being perhaps too lazy to recur 
to them while writing mine of the I thank you for your 

information from Mr. Boyce and shall desire the instruments to 
remain in their present position until I can find a safe and gentle 

1 The following is a note in lead pencil appended to the foregoing letter, in 
the handwriting of Mr. Randolph, but without signature : 

" I never slept a night from Monticello while my wife was there. But I 
left it early & returned after dark. After my misfortune I wished to avoid the 
supercilious looks of Mr. Jefferson's various guests. I still had the house in 
which I had so long kept my books & papers. Thither I went at an early hour 
every day & constantly returned when I could cross the river or the rains were 
not too heavy to brave." 

Again Jefferson wrote to his son-in-law : 

' ' Let me beseech you, dear sir, to return and become again a member of the 
family. I have ever wished you to consider yourself at home here, and to com 
mand, bring your friends, and act in all respects as you would in your own 
house. We are all distressed at your withdrawing from us. Your family 
doubtless have felt their participation in your misfortunes. This is natural. 
But in these there is nothing extraordinary. But your separation is a grief of a 
more distressing kind. From this you can relieve us all, and better promote 
your own happiness by returning to the bosom of those who love and respect 
you, rather than to continue in solitude, brooding over your misfortunes, & 
encouraging their ravages on your mind, and on the happiness of your life. 
Neither your family , nor yourself can be without any comforts while I have 
anything, and all I ask is that you will be assured of this, as well as of my 
affectionate friendship & respect." 

Randolph penciled on this letter : 

' ' I never passed a night from Monticello unless from heavy rain in the even 
ing or the river being too high to cross. Tho. M. R" 

362 THE WRITINGS OF [1826 

conveyance and give an order for them. The Russian discourse 
was duly received and was read with the feelings it would natur 
ally excite in the breast of a friend to the Rights of man. On 
the subject of emancipation I have ceased to think because not to 
be a work of my day. The plan of converting the blacks into 
Serfs would certainly be better than keeping them in their pres 
ent condition, but I consider that of expatriation to the govern 
ments of the W. I. of their own colour as entirely practicable, 
and greatly preferable to the mixture of colour here. To this 
I have great aversion ; but I repeat my abandonment of the sub 
ject. My health is at present as good as I ever expect it to be, 
and I am ever and affectionately yours. 


February, 1826. 

It is a common idea that games of chance are immoral. But 
what is chance ? Nothing happens in this world without a 
cause. If we know the cause, we do not call it chance ; but if 
we do not know it, we say it was produced by chance. If we 
see a loaded die turn its lightest side up, we know the cause, and 
that it is not an effect of chance ; but whatever side an unloaded 
die turns up, not knowing the cause, we say it is the effect of 
chance. Yet the morality of a thing cannot depend on our 
knowledge or ignorance of its cause. Not knowing why a par 
ticular side of an unloaded die turns up, cannot make the act of 
throwing it, or of betting on it, immoral. If we consider games 
of chance immoral, then every pursuit of human industry is im 
moral ; for there is not a single one that is not subject to chance, 
not one wherein you do not risk a loss for the chance of some 
gain. The navigator, for example, risks his ship in the hope (if 
she is not lost in the voyage) of gaining an advantageous freight. 
The merchant risks his cargo to gain a better price for it. A 
landholder builds a house on the risk of indemnifying himself 
by a rent. The hunter hazards his time and trouble in the hope 
of killing game. In all these pursuits, you stake some one thing 
against another which you hope to win. But the greatest of all 


gamblers is the farmer. He risks the seed he puts into the 
ground, the rent he pays for the ground itself, the year's labor on 
it, and the wear and tear of his cattle and gear, to win a crop, 
which the chances of too much or too little rain, and general 
uncertainties of weather, insects, waste, &c., often make a total 
or partial loss. These, then, are games of chance. Yet so far 
from being immoral, they are indispensable to the existence of 
man, and every one has a natural right to choose for his pursuit 
such one of them as he thinks most likely to furnish him sub 
sistence. Almost all these pursuits of chance produce something 
useful to society. But there are some which produce nothing, 
and endanger the well-being of the individuals engaged in them, 
or of others depending on them. Such are games with cards, 
dice, billiards, &c. And although the pursuit of them is a mat 
ter of natural right, yet society, perceiving the irresistible bent of 
some of its members to pursue them, and the ruin produced by 
them to the families depending on these individuals, consider it 
as a case of insanity, quoad hoc, step in to protect the family and 
the party himself, as in other cases of insanity, infancy, imbe 
cility, &c., and suppress the pursuit altogether, and the natural 
right of following it. There are some other games of chance, 
useful on certain occasions, and injurious only when carried be 
yond their useful bounds. Such are insurances, lotteries, raffles, 
&c. These they do not suppress, but take their regulation under 
their own discretion. The insurance of ships on voyages is a 
vocation of chance, yet useful, and the right to exercise it there 
fore is left free. So of houses against fire, doubtful debts, the 
continuance of a particular life, and similar cases. Money is 
wanting for a useful undertaking, as a school, &c., for which a 
direct tax would be disapproved. It is raised therefore by a lot 
tery, wherein the tax is laid on the willing only, that is to say, on 
those who can risk the price of a ticket without sensible injury 
for the possibility of a higher prize. An article of property, 
insusceptible of division at all, or not without great diminution 
of its worth, is sometimes of so large value as that no purchaser 
can be found while the owner owes debts, has no other means 
of payment, and his creditors no other chance of obtaining it 
but by its sale at a full and fair price. The lottery is here a sal- 

364 THE WRITINGS OF [1826 

utary instrument for disposing of it, where many run small risks 
for the chance of obtaining a high prize. In this way the great 
estate of the late Colonel Byrd (in 1756) was made competent 
to pay his debts, which, had the whole been brought into the 
market at once, would have overdone the demand, would have 
sold at half or quarter the value, and sacrificed the creditors, half 
or three-fourths of whom would have lost their debts. This 
method of selling was formerly very much resorted to, until it 
was thought to nourish too much a spirit of hazard. The legis 
lature were therefore induced not to suppress it altogether, but 
to take it under their own special regulation. This they did for 
the first time by their act of 1769, c. 17, before which time every 
person exercised the right freely ; and since which time, it is 
made unlawful but when approved and authorized by a special 
act of the legislature. 

Since then this right of sale, by way of lottery, has been ex 
ercised only under the jurisdiction of the legislature. Let us 
examine the purposes for which they have allowed it in practice > 
not looking beyond the date of our independence. 

1. It was for a long time an item of the standing revenue of the State. 

1813. c. i, 3. An act imposing taxes for the support of government, and c. 

2, 10. 

1814. Dec. c. i, 3. 1814. Feb. c. I, 3. 1818. c. i, i. 
1819. c. i. 1820. c. i. 

This, then, is a declaration by the nation, that an act was not immoral, of 
which they were in the habitual use themselves as a part of the regular means 
of supporting the government ; the tax on the vender of tickets was their share 
of the profits, and if their share was innocent, his could not be criminal. 

2. It has been abundantly permitted to raise money by lottery for the pur 
poses of schools ; and in this, as in many other cases, the lottery has been per 
mitted to retain a part of the money (generally from ten to fifteen per cent.) for 
the use to which the lottery has been applied. So that while the adventurers 
paid one hundred dollars for tickets, they received back eighty-five or ninety 
dollars only in the form of prizes, the remaining ten or fifteen being the tax 
levied on them, with their own consent. Examples are, 

1784. c. 34. Authorizing the city of Williamsburg to raise 2,000 for a grammar 


1789. c. 68. For Randolph Academy, 1,000. 
1789. c. 73. For Fauquier Academy, .500. 

c. 74. For the Fredericksburg Academy, 4,000. 


1790. c. 46. For the Transylvanian Seminary, ^500. 

For the Southampton Academy, 300. 
1796. c. 82. For the New London Academy. 

1803. c. 49. For the Fredericksburg Charity School, 
c. 50. For finishing the Strasbury Seminary, 
c. 58. For William and Mary College. 

c. 62. For the Bannister Academy, 
c. 79. For the Belfield Academy, 
c. 82. For the Petersburg Academy. 

1804. c. 40. For the Hotsprings Seminary, 
c. 76. For the Stevensburg Academy. 
c.ioo. For William and Mary College. 

1805. c. 24. For the Rumford Academy. j 

1812. c. 10. For the Literary Fund. To sell the privilege for $30,000 annu 

ally, for seven years. 
1816. c. 80. For Norfolk Academy, $12,000. 

Norfolk Female Society, $2,000. 
Lancastrian School, $6,000. 

3. The next object of lotteries has been rivers. 

1790. c. 46. For a bridge between Gosport and Portsmouth, ^400. 

1796. c. 83. For clearing Roanoke River. 

1804. c. 62. For clearing Quantico Creek. 

1805. c. 42. For a toll bridge over Cheat River. 
1816. c. 49. For the Dismal Swamp, $50,000. 

4. For roads. 
1790. c. 46. For a road to Warminster, ^200. 

For cutting a road from Rockfish gap to Scott's and Nicholas's 

landing, ^400. 

1796. c. 85. To repair certain roads. 

1803. c. 60. For improving roads to Snigger's and Ashby's gaps, 
c. 61. For opening a road to Brock's gap. 
c. 65. For opening a road from the town of Monroe to Sweet Springs 

and Lewisburg. 

c. 71. For improving the road to Brock's gap. 
1805. c. 5. For improving the road to Clarksburg. 

c. 26. For opening a road from Monongalia Glades to Fishing Creek. 

1813. c. 44. For opening a road from Thornton's gap. 

5. Lotteries for the benefit of counties. 

1796. c. 78. To authorize a lottery in the county of Shenandoah. 
c. 84. To authorize a lottery in the county of Gloucester. 

1 The acts not being at hand, the sums allowed are not known. T. J, 

366 THE WRITINGS OF [1826 

6. Lotteries for the benefit of towns. 

1782. c. 31. Richmond, for a bridge over Shockoe, amount not limited. 

1789. c. 75. Alexandria, to pave its streets, .1,500. 

1790. c. 46. do. do. ;s,ooo. 
1796. c. 79. Norfolk, one or more lotteries authorized. 

c. 81. Petersburg, a lottery authorized. 

1803. c. 12. Woodstock, do. 

c. 48. Fredericksburg, for improving its main street. 

c. 73. Harrisonburg, for improving its streets. 

7. Lotteries for religious congregations. 

1785. c. in. Completing a church in Winchester. 

For rebuilding a church in the parish of Elizabeth River. 

1791. c. 69. For the benefit of the Episcopal society. 
1790. c. 46. For building a church in Warminster, ^200. 

in Halifax, .200. 
in Alexandria, .500. 
in Petersburg, .750. 
in Shepherdstown, ^250. 

8. Lotteries for private societies. 

1790. c. 46. For the Amicable Society in Richmond, ^1,000. 

1791. c. 70. For building a Freemason's Hall in Charlotte, ^750. 

9. Lotteries for the benefit of private individuals. [To raise money for them.] 
1796. c. 80. For the sufferers by fire in the town of Lexington. 
1781. c. 6. For completing titles under Byrd's lottery. 

1790. c. 46. To erect a paper mill in Staunton, ^300. 

To raise .2,000 for Nathaniel Twining. 

1791. c. 73. To raise .4.000 for William Tatham, to enable him to complete 

his geographical work. 
To enable to complete a literary work. 1 

We have seen, then, that every vocation in life is subject to the 
influence of chance ; that so far from being rendered immoral by 
the admixture of that ingredient, were they abandoned on that 
account, man could no longer subsist ; that, among them, every 
one has a natural right to choose that which he thinks most likely 
to give him comfortable subsistence ; but that while the greater 
number of these pursuits are productive of something which adds 
to the necessaries and comforts of life, others again, such as cards, 

1 I found such an act, but not noting it at the time, I have not been able to 
find it again. But there is such an one. T. J. 


dice, &c., are entirely unproductive, doing good to none, injury 
to many, yet so easy, and so seducing in practice to men of a cer 
tain constitution of mind, that they cannot resist the temptation, 
be the consequences what they may ; that in this case, as in those 
of insanity, idiocy, infancy, &c., it is the duty of society to take 
them under its protection, even against their own acts, and to re 
strain their right of choice of these pursuits, by suppressing them 
entirely ; that there are others, as lotteries particularly, which, al 
though liable to chance also, are useful for many purposes, and 
are therefore retained and placed under the discretion of the Leg 
islature, to be permitted or refused according to the circumstances 
of every special case, of which they are to judge ; that between 
the years 1782 and 1820, a space of thirty-eight years only, we 
have observed seventy cases, where the permission of them has 
been found useful by the Legislature, some of which are in pro 
gress at this time. These cases relate to the emolument of the 
whole State, to local benefits of education, of navigation, of roads, 
of counties, towns, religious assemblies, private societies, and of 
individuals under particular circumstances which may claim in 
dulgence or favor. The latter is the case now submitted to the 
Legislature, and the question is, whether the individual soliciting 
their attention, or his situation, may merit that degree of consid 
eration which will justify the Legislature in permitting him to 
avail himself of the mode of selling by lottery, for the purpose 
of paying his debts. 

That a fair price cannot be obtained by sale in the ordinary 
way, and in the present depressed state of agricultural industry, 
is well known. Lands in this State will not now sell for more than 
a third or fourth of what they would have brought a few years 
ago, perhaps at the very time of the contraction of the debts for 
which they are now to be sold. The low price in foreign mar 
kets, for a series of years past, of agricultural produce, of wheat 
generally, of tobacco most commonly, and the accumulation of 
duties on the articles of consumption not produced within our 
State, not only disable the farmer or planter from adding to his 
farm by purchase, but reduces him to sell his own, and remove to 
the western country, glutting the market he leaves, while he lessens 
the number of bidders. To be protected against this sacrifice 

368 THE WRITINGS OF [1826 

is the object of the present application, and whether the applicant 
has any particular claim to this protection, is the present question. 
Here the answer must be left to others. It is not for me to 
give it. I may, however, more readily than others, suggest the 
offices in which I have served. I came of age in 1764, and was 
soon put into the nomination of justice of the county in which 

1 live, and at the first election following I became one of its 
representatives in the Legislature. 

I was thence sent to the old Congress. 

Then employed two years with Mr. Pendleton and Mr. Wythe. 
on the revisal and reduction to a single code of the whole body 
of the British statutes, the acts of our Assembly, and certain 
parts of the common law. 

Then elected Governor. 

Next to the Legislature, and to Congress again. 

Sent to Europe as Minister Plenipotentiary. 

Appointed Secretary of State to the new government. 

Elected Vice-President, and 


And lastly, a Visitor and Rector of the University. 

In these different offices, with scarcely any interval between 
them, I have been in the public service now sixty-one years ; and 
during the far greater part of the time, in foreign countries or in 
other States. Every one knows how inevitably a Virginia estate 
goes to ruin, when the owner is so far distant as to be unable to 
pay attention to it himself ; and the more especially, when the 
line of his employment is of a character to abstract and alienate 
his mind entirely from the knowledge necessary to good, and 
even to saving management. 

If it were thought worth while to specify any particular ser 
vices rendered, I would refer to the specification of them made by 
the Legislature itself in their Farewell Address, on my retiring 
from the Presidency, February, 1809. [This will be found in 

2 Pleasant's Collection, page 144.] There is one, however, not 
therein specified, the most important in its consequences, of any 
transaction in any portion of my life ; to wit, the head I person 
ally made against the federal principles and proceedings, during 
the administration of Mr. Adams. Their usurpations and viola- 


tions of the constitution at that period, and their majority in both 
Houses of Congress, were so great, so decided, and so daring, 
that after combating their aggressions, inch by inch, without be 
ing able in the least to check their career, the republican leaders 
thought it would be best for them to give up their useless efforts 
there, go home, get into their respective Legislatures, embody 
whatever of resistance they could be formed into, and if ineffect 
ual, to perish there as in the last ditch. All, therefore, retired, 
leaving Mr. Gallatin alone in the House of Representatives, and 
myself in the Senate, where I then presided as Vice-President, 
Remaining at our posts, and bidding defiance to the brow beat 
ings and insults by which they endeavored to drive us off also, 
we kept the mass of republicans in phalanx together, until the 
Legislatures could be brought up to the charge ; and nothing on 
earth is more certain, than that if myself particularly, placed by 
my office of Vice-President at the head of the republicans, had 
given way and withdrawn from my post, the republicans through 
out the Union would have given up in despair, and the cause 
would have been lost forever. By holding on, we obtained time 
for the Legislatures to come up with their weight ; and those of 
Virginia and Kentucky particularly, but more especially the 
former, by their celebrated resolutions, saved the constitution at 
its last gasp. No person who was not a witness of the scenes of 
that gloomy period, can form any idea of the afflicting persecu 
tions and personal indignities we had to brook. They saved 
our country however. The spirits of the people were so much 
subdued and reduced to despair by the X Y Z imposture, and 
other stratagems and machinations, that they would have sunk 
into apathy and monarchy, as the only form of government 
which could maintain itself. 

If Legislative services are worth mentioning, and the stamp of 
liberality and equality, which was necessary to be imposed on our 
laws in the first crisis of our birth as a nation, was of any value, 
they will find that the leading and most important laws of that 
day were prepared by myself, and carried chiefly by my efforts ; 
supported, indeed, by able and faithful coadjutors from the ranks 
of the House, very effective as seconds, but who would not have 
taken the field as leaders. 

VOL. X. 24 

370 THE WRITINGS OF [1826 

The prohibition of the further importation of slaves was the 
first of these measures in time. 

This was followed by the abolition of entails, which broke up 
the hereditary and high-handed aristocracy, which, by accumu 
lating immense masses of property in single lines of families, 
had divided our country into two distinct orders, of nobles and 

But further to complete the equality among our citizens so es 
sential to the maintenance of republican government, it was 
necessary to abolish the principle of primogeniture. I drew the 
law of descents, giving equal inheritance to sons and daughters, 
which made a part of the revised code. 

The attack on the establishment of a dominant religion, was 
first made by myself. It could be carried at first only by a sus 
pension of salaries for one year, by battling it again at the next 
session for another year, and so from year to year, until the pub 
lic mind was ripened for the bill for establishing religious free 
dom, which I had prepared for the revised code also. This was 
at length established permanently, and by the efforts chiefly of 
Mr. Madison, being myself in Europe at the time that work was 
brought forward. 

To these particular services, I think I might add the establish 
ment of our University, as principally my work, acknowledging 
at the same time, as I do, the great assistance received from my 
able colleagues of the Visitation. But my residence in the vi 
cinity threw, of course, on me the chief burthen of the enter 
prise, as well of the buildings as of the general organization and 
care of the whole. The effect of this institution on the future 
fame, fortune and prosperity of our country, can as yet be seen 
but at a distance. But an hundred well-educated youths, which 
it will turn out annually, and ere long, will fill all its offices with 
men of superior qualifications, and raise it from its humble state 
to an eminence among its associates which it has never yet 
known ; no, not in its brightest days. That institution is now 
qualified to raise its youth to an order of science unequalled in 
any other State ; and this superiority will be the greater from 
the free range of mind encouraged there, and the restraint im 
posed at other seminaries by the shackles of a domineering 


hierarchy, and a bigoted adhesion to ancient habits. Those now 
on the theatre of affairs will enjoy the ineffable happiness of 
seeing themselves succeeded by sons of a grade of science be 
yond their own ken. Our sister States will also be repairing to 
the same fountains of instruction, will bring hither their genius 
to be kindled at our fire, and will carry back the fraternal affec 
tions which, nourished by the same alma mater, will knit us to 
them by the indissoluble bonds of early personal friendships. 
The good Old Dominion, the blessed mother of us all, will then 
raise her head with pride among the nations, will present to them 
that splendor of genius which she has ever possessed, but has 
too long suffered to rest uncultivated and unknown, and will be 
come a centre of ralliance to the States whose youth she has 
instructed, and, as it were, adopted. 

I claim some share in the merits of this great work of regen 
eration. My whole labors, now for many years, have been 
devoted to it, and I stand pledged to follow it up through the 
remnant of life remaining to me. And what remuneration do I 
ask ? Money from the treasury ? Not a cent. I ask nothing 
from the earnings or labors of my fellow citizens. I wish no 
man's comforts to be abridged for the enlargement of mine. For 
the services rendered on all occasions, I have been always paid to 
my full satisfaction. I never wished a dollar more than what the 
law had fixed on. My request is, only to be permitted to sell 
my own property freely to pay my own debs. To sell it, I say, 
and not to sacrifice it, not to have it gobbled up by speculators 
to make fortunes for themselves, leaving unpaid those who have 
trusted to my good faith, and myself without resource in the last 
and most helpless stage of life. If permitted to sell it in a way 
which will bring me a fair price, all will be honestly and honor 
ably paid, and a competence left for myself, and for those who 
look to me for subsistence. To sell it in a way which will of 
fend no moral principle, and expose none to risk but the willing, 
and those wishing to be permitted to take the chance of gain. 
To give me, in short, that permission which you often allow to 
others for purposes not more moral. 

Will it be objected, that although not evil in itself, it may as a 
precedent, lead to evil ? But let those who shall quote the pre- 

372 THE WRITINGS OF [1826 

cedent, bring their case within the same measure. Have they, 
as in this case, devoted three-score years and one of their lives, 
uninterruptedly, to the service of their country ? Have the 
times of those services been as trying as those which have em 
braced our Revolution, our transition from a colonial to a free 
structure of government ? Have the stations of their trial been 
of equal importance? Has the share they have borne in holding 
their new government to its genuine principles, been equally 
marked ? And has the cause of the distress, against which they 
seek a remedy, proceeded, not merely from themselves, but from 
errors of the public authorities, disordering the circulating me 
dium, over which they had no control, and which have, in fact, 
doubled and trebled debts, by reducing, in that proportion, the 
value of the property which was to pay them ? If all these cir 
cumstances, which characterize the present case, have taken 
place in theirs also, then follow the precedent. Be assured, the 
cases will be so rare as to produce no embarrassment, as never to 
settle into an injurious habit. The single feature of a sixty 
years' service, as no other instance of it has yet occurred in our 
country, so it probably never may again. And should it occur, 
even once and again, it will not impoverish your treasury, as it 
takes nothing from that, and asks but a simple permission, by an 
act of natural right, to do one of moral justice. 


MONTICELLO Feb. 7. 26. 

DEAR SIR, I reed yesterday your kind letter of the 2d and am 
truly sensible of the interest you are so good as to take in my 
affairs. I had hoped the length and character of my services 
might have prevented the fear in the legislature of the indulgence 
asked being quoted as a precedent in future cases, but I find no 
fault with their strict adherence to a rule generally useful, altho' 
relaxable in some cases under their discretion, of which they are 
the proper judges. If it can be yielded in my case, I can save 
the house of Monticello and a farm adjoining to end my days in 
and bury my bones. If not I must sell house and all here and 


carry my family to Bedford where I have not even a log hut to 
put my head into. In any case I wish nothing from the treasury. 
The pecuniary compensns I have reed for my services from time 
to time have been fully to my own satisfn. 

I have been very much mortified by the publicn in the En 
quirer of the 4th of two letters from some person called an 
American citizen tfho seems to have visited Mr. Madison & my 
self and has undertaken to state private conversns with us. In 
one of these he makes me declare that I had intentionally pro 
ceeded in a course of dupery of our legislature, teasing them as 
he makes me say for 6. or 7. sessions for successive aids to the 
Univty. and asking a part only at a time & intentionally conceal 
ing the ultimate cost ; and gives an inexact statement of a story 
of Obrian. Now our annual reports will shew that we constantly 
gave full and candid accounts of the money expended, and state 
ments of what might still be wanting founded on the Proctor's 
estimates. No man ever heard me speak of the grants of the 
legislre but with acknolegements of their liberality, which I have 
always declared had gone far beyond what I could have expected 
in the beginning. Yet the letter writer has given to my expres 
sions an aspect disrespectful of the legislre and calculated to give 
them offence, which I do absolutely disavow. The writer is 
called an American citizen. It is evident, if he be so, that he is 
an adopted one only who after calling on us in his travels thro' 
the country as a stranger may have obtained naturalisation and 
settled in Phila. where he is enjoying the society of the Buona 
partes &c. The familiar style of his letter to his friend in Eng 
land and the communicn of it to the literary gazette there 
indicates sufficiently his foreign birth and connections. I cannot 
express to you the pain which this unfaithful version and betray- 
ment of private conversn has given me. I feel that it will add 
to the disfavor I had incurred with a large portion of the legisla 
ture by my strenuous labours for the establmt of the University to 
which they were opposed insomuch as to let it overweigh what 
ever of satisfactn former services had given them. I have been 
long sensible that while I was endeavoring to render to our coun 
try the greatest of all services, that of regenerating the public 
education, and placing our rising genern on the level of our sister 

374 THE WRITINGS OF [1826 

states (which they have proudly held heretofore) I was discharging 
the odious function of a Physician pouring medicine down the 
throat of a patient, insensible of needing it. I am so sure of the 
future approbn of posterity and of the inestimable effect we shall 
have produced in the educn of our country by what we have done 
as that I cannot repent of the part I have borne in coopern with 
my colleagues. I disclaim the honors which this writer (among 
the other errors he had interlarded with the truths of his letters) 
has ascribed to me of having made the liberal donations of timber 
& stone from my own estate and of having paid all the contracts 
for materials myself, and I restore them to their true source the 
liberal legislators of our country. My pain at these false praises 
and representations should merit with them an acquittal of any 
supposed approbn of them by myself. Ever & affectly yours. 


MONTICELLO Feb. 8. 26 

MY DEAR JEFFERSON, I duly reed, your affectionate letter of 
the 3d and perceive there are greater doubts than I had appre 
hended whether the legislre will indulge me in my request to 
them. It is a part of my mortifn to perceive that I had so far 
overvalued myself as to have counted on it with too much confi 
dence. I see in the failure of this hope a deadly blast of all 
peace of mind during my remaining days. You kindly encourage 
me to keep up my spirits. But oppressed with disease, debility, 
age, and embarrassed affairs, this is difficult. For myself I 
should not regard a prostration of fortune, but I am overwhelmed 
at the prospect of the situation in which I may leave my family. 
My dear & beloved daughter, the cherished companion of my 
early life and nurse of my age, and her children, rendered as dear 
to me as if my own from having lived with them from their 
cradle, left in a comfortless situation, hold up to me nothing but 
future gloom, and I should not care were life to end with the line 
I am writing, were it not that in the unhappy state of mind which 
your father's misfortunes have brought upon him I may yet be of 

1 From the original in the possession of Archibald Gary Coolidge. 


some avail to the family. Their affectionate devotion to me makes 
a willingness to endure life a duty as long as it can be of any use 
to them. Yourself particularly, dear Jefferson, I consider as the 
greatest of the Godsends which heaven has granted me. Without 
you what could I do under the difficulties now environing me. 
This has been produced in some degree by my unskilful manage 
ment and devoting my life to the service of my country, but much 
also by the unfortunate fluctuations in the value of our money and 
the long continued depression of the farming business. But for 
these last I am confident my debts might be paid leaving me Mon- 
ticello and the Bedford estate. But where there are no bidders 
property however great offers no resource for the payment of 
debts. In the payment of debts all must go for little or nothing. 
Perhaps however even in this case I may have no right to com 
plain, as these misfortunes have been held back for my last days 
when few remain to me. I duly acknolege that I have gone thro' 
a long life with fewer circumstances of affliction than are the lot 
of most men. Uninterrupted health, a competence for every 
reasonable want, usefulness to my fellow citizens, a good portion 
of their esteem, no complaint against the world which has suffi 
ciently honored me, and above all a family which has blessed me 
by their affectn and never by their conduct given me a moment's 
pain ; and should this my last request be granted I may yet close 
with a cloudless sun a long and serene day of life. Be assured 
my dear Jefferson that I have a just sense of the part you have 
contributed to this, and that I bear to you unmeasured affection. 


MONTICELLO, February 17, 1826. 

DEAR SIR, * * * Immediately on seeing the overwhelming 
vote of the House of Representatives against giving us another 
dollar, I rode to the University and desired Mr. Brockenbrough to 
engage in nothing new, to stop everything on hand which could be 
done without, and to employ all his force and funds in finishing the 
circular room for the books, and the anatomical theatre. These 
cannot be done without ; and for these and all our debts we have 
funds enough. But I think it prudent then to clear the decks 

376 THE WRITINGS OF [1826 

thoroughly, to see how we shall stand, and what we may ac 
complish further. In the meantime, there have arrived for us in 
different ports of the United States, ten boxes of books from 
Paris, seven from London, and from Germany I know not how 
many ; in all, perhaps, about twenty-five boxes. Not one of 
these can be opened until the book-room is completely finished, 
and all the shelves ready to receive their charge directly from 
the boxes as they shall be opened. This cannot be till May. I 
hear nothing definite of the three thousand dollars duty of which 
we are asking the remission from Congress. In the selection of 
our Law Professor, we must be rigorously attentive to his political 
principles. You will recollect that before the revolution, Coke 
Littleton was the universal elementary book of law students, and 
a sounder whig never wrote, nor of profounder learning in the 
orthodox doctrines of the British constitution, or in what were 
called English liberties. You remember also that our lawyers 
were then all whigs. But when his black-letter text, and uncouth 
but cunning learning got out of fashion, and the honied Mans- 
fieldism of Blackstone became the student's hornbook, from that 
moment, that profession (the nursery of our Congress) began to 
slide into toryism, and nearly all the young brood of lawyers now 
are of that hue. They suppose themselves, indeed, to be whigs, 
because they no longer know what whigism or republicanism 
means. It is in our seminary that that vestal flame is to be kept 
alive ; it is thence it is to spread anew over our own and the sister 
States. If we are true and vigilant in our trust, within a dozen 
or twenty years a majority of our own legislature will be from 
one school, and many disciples will have carried its doctrines 
home with them to their several States, and will have leavened 
thus the whole mass. New York has taken strong ground in 
vindication of the constitution ; South Carolina had already done 
the same. Although I was against our leading, I am equally 
against omitting to follow in the same line, and backing them 
firmly ; and I hope that yourself or some other will mark out the 
track to be pursued by us. 

You will have seen in the newspapers some proceedings in the 
legislature, which have cost me much mortification. My own 
debts had become considerable, but not beyond the effect of 


some lopping of property, which would have been little felt, 
when our friend Nicholas gave me the coup de grace. Ever since 
that I have been paying twelve hundred dollars a year interest 
on his debt, which, with my own, was absorbing so much of 
my annual income, as that the maintenance of my family was 
making deep and rapid inroads on my capital, and had already 
done it. Still, sales at a fair price would leave me competently 
provided. Had crops and prices for several years been such as 
to maintain a steady competition of substantial bidders at market, 
all would have been safe. But the long succession of years of 
stunted crops, of reduced prices, the general prostration of the 
farming business, under levies for the support of manufactures, 
&c., with the calamitous fluctuations of value in our paper me 
dium, have kept agriculture in a state of abject depression, which 
has peopled the western States by silently breaking up those on 
the Atlantic, and glutted the land market, while it drew off its 
bidders. In such a state of things, property has lost its charac 
ter of being a resource for debts. Highland in Bedford, which, 
in the days of our plethory, sold readily for from fifty to one 
hundred dollars the acre, (and such sales were many then,) would 
not now sell for more than from ten to twenty dollars, or one- 
quarter or one-fifth of its former price. Reflecting on these 
things, the practice occurred to me, of selling, on fair valuation, 
and by way of lottery, often resorted to before the Revolution to 
effect large sales, and still in constant usage in every State for in 
dividual as well as corporation purposes. If it is permitted in 
my case, my lands here alone, with the mills, &c., will pay every 
thing, and leave me Monticello and a farm free. If refused, I 
must sell everything here, perhaps considerably in Bedford, move 
thither with my family, where I have not even a log hut to put 
my head into, and whether ground for burial, will depend on the 
depredations which, under the form of sales, shall have been com 
mitted on my property. The question then with me was ultrum 
horum ? But why afflict you with these details ? Indeed, I can 
not tell, unless pains are lessened by communication with a 
friend. The friendship which has subsisted between us, now 
half a century, and the harmony of our political principles and 
pursuits, have been sources of constant happiness to me through 

378 THE WRITINGS OF [1826 

that long period. And if I remove beyond the reach of attentions 
to the University, or beyond the bourne of life itself, as I soon 
must, it is a comfort to leave that institution under your care, 
and an assurance that it will not be wanting. It has also been a 
great solace to me, to believe that you are engaged in vindicating 
to posterity the course we have pursued for preserving to them, 
in all their purity, the blessings of self-government, which we 
had assisted too in acquiring for them. If ever the earth has 
beheld a system of administration conducted with a single and 
steadfast eye to the general interest and happiness of those com 
mitted to it, one which, protected by truth, can never know re 
proach, it is that to which our lives have been devoted. To 
myself you have been a pillar of support through life. Take 
care of me when dead, and be assured that I shall leave with 
you my last affections. 


MONTICELLO Feb. 21. 26. 

How could you think, my dear friend, of appealing to me for 
materials for the history of N. Carolina ? At the age of 83, 
scarcely able to walk from one room to another, rarely out of pain, 
and with both hands so crippled that to write a page is nearly the 
work of a day ? I believe too that I never knew any thing about 
it, and if I did it is all forgotten. But I have observed that at 
whatever age, or in whatever form we have known a person of old 
so we believe him to continue indefinitely, unchanged by time or 
decay. I am glad however you did not reflect on this, because it 
has furnished occasion for a letter from you which I shall always 
receive with the welcome which antient & affectionate recollec 
tions ever bring. I am particularly happy to perceive that you 
retain health and spirits still manfully to maintain our good old 
principle of cherishing and fortifying the rights and authorities of 
the people in opposition to those who fear them, who wish to take 
all power from them, and to transfer all to Washington. The 
latter may call themselves republicans if they please, but the 
school of Venice, and all of this principle I call at once lories. 


For consolidation is but toryism in disguise it's object being to 
withdraw their [illegible] as far as possible from the ken of the 
people. God bless you & preserve you many and long years. 


MONTICELLO Feb. 22. 26. 

DEAR SIR, Your favor of the i3th was received yesterday. 
Your use of my letter with the alterns subsequently proposed, 
needs no apology. And it will be a gratifn to me if it can be of 
any service to you. I learn with sincere affliction the difficulties 
with which you have still to struggle. Mine are considble, but 
the single permission given me by the legislature of such a mode 
of sale as ensures a fair value for what I must sell, will leave me 
still a competent provision. If sold under the hammer it must 
have been for whatever the bidder would gratuitously offer. For 
such a piece of property for example as my mills there could not 
have been two bona fide bidders in the state. A Virginia estate 
managed rigorously well yields a comfortable subsistence to it's 
owner living on it, but nothing more. But it runs him in debt 
annually if at a distance from him, if he is absent, if he is unskil 
ful as I am, if short crops reduce him to deal on credit, and most 
assuredly if thunder struck from the hand of a friend as I was. 
Altho' all these causes conspired against me, and should have put 
me on my guard I had no suspicions until my grandson under 
took the management of my estate and developed to me the state 
of my affairs, fortunately while yet retrievable in a comfortable 
degree. I hope you will still find yours so, and with sincere wishes 
that they may prove so to be. I salute you with constant frdshp, 
and respect. 


MONTO. Feb. 22. 26. 

DEAR SIR, I have to acknolege the rect. of your favor of the 
i4th and still more especially to acknolwge the kindness with 
which you lent your aid to a late measure of extreme importance 
to me and to my family. The ist vote indeed was very appalling, 
and made me fear I had made a very improper proposition which 

380 THE WRITINGS OF [1826 

could be rejected offhand by so great a proportion of the house. 
The practice of selling property by lottery had been so frequent 
before the revoln as to hide from us, by it's familiarity what might 
be amiss in it if anything were so. The subsequent votes how 
ever relieved my apprehensions, and the zeal with which my friends 
espoused my case was a healing balm which would have soothed 
me under any issue in which it might have ended. Every owner 
of a Virginia estate, knows how prone they are to mismanagement 
and ruin, even when distant alone, how much more so when long 
& necessary absences of the master are added to distance, and 
still more when his line of life adds invincible ignorance to his 
intermissions of attention. These circumstances had thrown me 
into arrears when an overwhelming stroke fell on me from a 
friend. Still, had our land market remained in a healthy state 
every thing might have been paid and have left me competently 
provided. But the agricultural branch of industry with us had 
been so many years in a state of abject prostrn, that, combined 
with the calamitous fluctuations in the value of our circulating 
medium, those concerned in it instead of being in a condn to 
purchase were abandoning farms no longer yielding profit and 
moving off to the Western country. The only relief I wanted 
then was a market for property, where it might be sold at a fair 
price and effect the paymt of my debts, instead of being sacrificed 
to speculators lying in wait to get it for nothing, and leaving the 
debts still unpaid. As it is, I shall be left at my ease, and nothing 
unpaid but the obligns to my friends which I can never repay. 

We have about 160. students entered, many dormitories en 
gaged, their occupants not yet arrived, and new hands still coming 
in so as to leave no doubt of all being filled. Were indeed the Law 
chair occupied, it would add immediately more than we could re 
ceive. But the present lamented incumbent is hastening rapidly 
to his end. I hope when we meet we shall be prepared to name 
one who will accept and who will be acceptable to us in point of 
science in his particular profession, and more particularly in the 
political principles to be disseminated from his school. I hope 
too you will make your head quarters with us as heretofore unde r 
the asurance that no friend can be more welcome, none who pos 
sesses more sincerely my affectionate esteem and respect. 



MONTICELLO Feb. 28 26 

DEAR SIR, I have duly received your favor covering one from 
a Lottery office offering it's services for the management of that 
lately permitted to me. I have for some years been obliged by 
age and ill health to resign the care of all my affairs to my grand 
son Th. J. R. who accdly acts for me with full powers in all cases. 
That of the lottery particularly has been entirely left to him so 
that I know nothing of it's plan or management. I therefore sent 
immediately to him your letter and that which it covered. I 
think however that I heard him say he had engaged a particu 
lar company before he left Richmd. If he has not I am sure 
your recommdn will be received with respect. I have had too 
many proofs dear Sir of your kind disposns to need any assurance 
that in all cases respecting myself whatever you do is done from 
the most frdly motives. That the opinions of my best friends 
were divided on my late proposition appeared in every quarter, 
and in none stronger than on the ist question in the H. of R. 
My own alarm at that vote was great & painful. But I found, 
with all, that the more steadily they viewed the object the more 
they rallied to the alternative which finally prevailed. I knew 
that my property if a fair market could be obtained was far beyond 
the amt. of my debts, and sfft after paying them to leave me at 
ease. I knew at the same time that in the present abject prostra 
tion of agricultural industry in this country no market existed for 
that form of property ; a long succession of unfruitful years, long- 
continued low prices, oppressive tariffs levied on other branches 
to maintain that of manufactures, far the most flourishing of all, 
calamitous fluctuans in the value of our circulating medium, and, 
in my case a want of skill, in the management of our land & labor, 
these circumstances had been long undermining the state of agri 
culture, had been breaking up the landholders and glutting the 
land market here, while drawing off it's bidders to people the 
Western country. Under such circumstances agricultural prop 
erty had become no resource for the payment of debts. To obtain 
a fair market was all I wanted, and this the only means of ob 
taining it. The idea was perhaps more familiar to me than to 
younger people because so commonly practised before the revoln. 

382 THE WRITINGS OF [1826 

It had no connection with morality, altho' it had with expediency. 
Instead of being suppressed therefore with mere games of chance, 
lotteries had been placed under the discretion of the legislre as a 
means of sometimes effecting purposes desirable while left volun 
tary. Whether my case was within the range of that discretion, 
they were to judge, and in the integrity of that jdmt I have the 
most perfect confidce. And I hope I am not deceived in think 
ing that I discover after the ist impression is rectified, some 
revulsion in the general opinion. You say you had made up 
from the public papers a little packet of expressions containing 
proofs of this. Such proofs would be acceptable and the more 
so after the rap of the knuckles received from the ist vote. I 
pray you to be assured of my great frdshp and respect. 1 

1 Jefferson further wrote to Ritchie : 

" MONTICELLO Mar. 13. '26. 

" DEAR SIR, The interest you are so kind as to take in the measures proposed 
for relieving me from embarrassment brings on you the trouble of this letter. I 
have received an application from persons in N. Co. desirous of manifesting 
their goodwill to me by contributions in money, if acceptable, and offering to 
dispose of a portion of tickets if the way of lottery is preferred. This renders 
it necessary to take at once decided ground, lest by pursuing different plans 
they may defeat one another. It certainly is not for me to prescribe what shape 
my fellow citizens shall manifest their kindness to me. The bounties from one's 
country, expressions of it's approbation, are honors which it would be arrogance 
to refuse, especially where flowing from the willing only. The same approba 
tion however expressed by promoting the success of the lottery, would have the 
advantage of relieving the repugnance we justly feel against becoming a burthen 
to our friends and may justly excuse a preference of this mode. In answering 
my well wishers of N. Carolina I have endeavored to explain respectfully the 
motives of this preference. I send you a copy of this answer, as possessing the 
grounds of our proceedings. You may be able perhaps, by occasional editorial 
hints, to give uniformity of direction to the various propositions of which you 
probably will be made the center. Those to whom this letter is addressed may 
perhaps publish it which should not I think, be formally otherwise done. 

The necessity which dictated this expedient cost me in it's early stage un 
speakable mortification. The turn it has taken, so much beyond what I could 
have expected, has countervailed all I suffered, and become a source of felicity 
which I should otherwise never have known. Affectionately & gratefully 



MONTICELLO Mar. 8. 26. 

DEAR SIR, I have duly received your two favors of Feb. 23. 
and 27. and am truly sensible of the interest you so kindly take 
in my affairs and of the encouraging aspects of Mr. Gouvernour's 
letter. All that is necessary for my relief is a successful sale of 
our tickets, of which the public papers give good hope. If this 
is effected at a reasonable value for what I shall sell, what will 
remain will leave me at a good degree of ease. To keep a Vir 
ginia estate together requires in the owner both skill and atten 
tion ; skill I never had and attention I could not have, and really 
when I reflect on all circumstances my wonder is that I should 
have been so long as 60 years in reaching the result to which I 
am now reduced. Still if this resource succeeds I am safe. With 
the scheme and management of the lottery I meddle not at all. 
Age and ill health render me entirely unequal to it. I have com 
mitted it therefore to my grandson altogether, and put into his 
hands all letters coming to me on the subject, that he may avail 
himself of the kindnesses offered, as far as his arrangements will 
admit. I hope your affairs will wind up to your wishes, and pray 
you to be assured of the pleasure it will give me to learn your 
happy issue out of all your difficulties, and of my great and 
sincere affection and respect. 


MONTICELLO, March 30, 1826. 

DEAR SIR, I am thankful for the very interesting message 
and documents of which you have been so kind as to send me a 
copy, and will state my recollections as to the particular passage 
of the message to which you ask my attention. On the conclu 
sion of peace, Congress, sensible of their right to assume inde 
pendence, would not condescend to ask its acknowledgment 
from other nations, yet were willing, by some of the ordinary 
international transactions, to receive what would imply that 
acknowledgment. They appointed commissioners, therefore, to 
propose treaties of commerce to the principal nations of Europe. 
I was then a member of Congress, was of the committee ap- 

384 THE WRITINGS OF [1826 

pointed to prepare instructions for the commissioners, was, as you 
suppose, the draughtsman of those actually agreed to, and was 
joined with your father and Dr. Franklin, to carry them into ex 
ecution. But the stipulations making part of these injunctions, 
which respected privateering, blockades, contraband, and free 
dom of the fisheries, were not original conceptions of mine. 
They had before been suggested by Dr. Franklin, in some of his 
papers in possession of the public, and had, I think, been recom 
mended in some letter of his to Congress. I happen only to have 
been the inserter of them in the first public act which gave the 
formal sanction of a public authority. We accordingly proposed 
our treaties, containing these stipulations, to the principal govern 
ments of Europe. But we were then just emerged from a sub 
ordinate condition ; the nations had as yet known nothing of us, 
and had not yet reflected on the relations which it might be their 
interest to establish with us. Most of them, therefore, listened 
to our propositions with coyness and reserve ; old Frederic alone 
closing with us without hesitation. The negotiator of Portugal, 
indeed, signed a treaty with us, which his government did not 
ratify, and Tuscany was near a final agreement. Becoming 
sensible, however, ourselves, that we should do nothing with the 
greater powers, we thought it better not to hamper our country 
with engagements to those of less significance, and suffered our 
powers to expire without closing any other negotiations. Austria 
soon after became desirous of a treaty with us, and her ambas 
sador pressed it often on me ; but our commerce with her being 
no object, I evaded her repeated invitations. Had these gov 
ernments been then apprized of the station we should so soon 
occupy among nations, all, I believe, would have met us promptly 
and with frankness. These principles would then have been es 
tablished with all, and from being the conventional law with us 
alone, would have slid into their engagements with one another, 
and become general. These are the facts within my recollection. 
They have not yet got into written history ; but their adoption 
by our southern brethren will bring them into observance, and 
make them, what they should be, a part of the law of the world, 
and of the reformation of principles for which they will be in 
debted to us. I pray you to accept the homage of my friendly 
and high consideration. 



MONTICELLO, April 8, 1826. 

DEAR SIR, I thank you for the very able and eloquent speech 
you have been so kind as to send me on the amendment of the 
constitution, proposed by Mr. McDuffie. I have read it with 
pleasure and satisfaction, and concur with much of its contents. 
On the question of the lawfulness of slavery, that is of the right 
of one man to appropriate to himself the faculties of another 
without his consent, I certainly retain my early opinions. On 
that, however, of third persons to interfere between the parties, 
and the effect of conventional modifications of that pretension, 
we are probably nearer together. I think with you, also, that 
the constitution of the United States is a compact of independent 
nations subject to the rules acknowledged in similar cases, as 
well that of amendment provided within itself, as, in case of 
abuse, the justly dreaded but unavoidable ultimo ratio gentium. 
The report on the Panama question mentioned in your letter has 
as I suppose, got separated by the way. It will probably come 
by another mail. In some of the letters you have been kind 
enough to write me, I have been made to hope the favor of a 
visit from Washington. It would be received with sincere wel 
come, and unwillingly relinquished if no circumstance should 
render it inconvenient to yourself. I repeat always with pleasure 
the assurances of my great esteem and respect. 


MONTICELLO May 30. 26. 

DEAR SIR, Your favor of the 25th came to hand yesterday, 
and I shall be happy to receive you at the time you mention or 
any other, if any other shall be more convenient to you. 

Not being now possessed of a copy of Genl. Lee's memoirs as 
I before observed to you, I may have misremembered the pas 
sage respecting Simpcoe's expedition, and very willingly stand 
corrected. The only fact relative to it which I can state from 
personal knolege is that being at Monticello on the pth. loth. & 
nth of June 81, on one of these days I cannot now ascertain 

386 THE WRITINGS OF [1826 

which, I distinctly saw the smoke of houses, successively arising 
in the horizon a little beyond James river, and which I learnt 
from indubitable testimony were kindled by his corps, and that 
being within 3. or 4 miles of N. London from that time to the 
25th of July, he did not within that space of time reach N. 
London. But all this may be better explained viva voce ; and in 
the mean time I repeat assurances of my great esteem & respect. 1 

1 Jefferson further wrote to Lee : 

MONTICELLO, May 15, 1826. 

DEAR SIR, The sentiments o justice which have dictated your letters of 
the 3d and gth inst., are worthy of all praise, and merit and meet my thankful 
acknowledgments. Were your father now living and proposing, as you are, to 
publish a second edition of his memoirs, I am satisfied he would give a very 
different aspect to the pages of that work which respect Arnold's invasion and 
surprise of Richmond, in the winter of 1780-81. He was then, I believe, in 
South Carolina, too distant from the scene of those transactions to relate them 
on his own knowledge, or even to sift them from the chaff of the rumors then 
afloat, rumors which vanished soon before the real truth, as vapors before the 
sun, obliterated by their notoriety, from every candid mind, and by the voice of 
the many who, as actors or spectators knew what had truly past. The facts 
shall speak for themselves. 

General Washington had just given notice to all the Governors on the sea 
board, north and south, that an embarcation was taking place at New York, 
destined for the southward, as was given out there ; and on Sunday the 3ist of 
December, 1780, we received information that a fleet had entered our capes. 
It happened fortunately that our legislature was at that moment in session, and 
within two days of their rising, so that, during these two days, we had the 
benefit of their presence, and of the counsel and information of the members 
individually. On Monday the ist of January, we were in suspense as to the 
destination of this fleet, whether up the bay, or up our river. On Tuesday at 
10 o'clock, however, we received information that they had entered James 
river ; and, on general advice, we instantly prepared orders for calling in the 
militia, one-half from the nearer counties, and a fourth from the more remote, 
which would constitute a force of between four and five thousand men, of 
which orders the members of the legislature, which adjourned that day, took 
charge, each to his respective county ; and we began the removal of everything 
from Richmond. The wind being fair and strong, the enemy ascended the 
river as rapidly almost as the expresses could ride, who were dispatched to us 
from time to time, to notify their progress. At 5 P. M. on Thursday, we learnt 
that they had then been three hours landed at Westover. The whole militia 
of the adjacent counties were now called for, and to come on individually, with 
out waiting any regular array. At I P. M. the next day, (Friday,) they entered 
Richmond, and on Saturday, after twenty-four hours possession, burning some 



MONTICELLO June 5. '26. 

A word to you, my dearest Ellen, under the cover of Mr. 
Coolidge's letter. I address you the less frequently, because I 
find it easier to write 10 letters of business, than one on the in- 

houses, destroying property, &c. , they retreated, encamped that evening ten 
miles below, and reached their shipping at Westover the next day, (Sunday.) 

By this time had assembled three hundred militia under Colonel Nicholas, 
six miles above Westover, and two hundred under General Nelson, at Charles 
city Court House, eight miles below. Two or three hundred at Petersburg 
had put themselves under General Smallwood, of Maryland, accidentally there 
on his passage through the State ; and Baron Steuben with eight hundred, and 
Colonel Gibson with one thousand, were also on the south side of James river, 
aiming to reach Hood's before the enemy should have passed it, where they 
hoped they could arrest them. But the wind, having shifted, carried them 
down as prosperously as it had brought them up the river. Within the first five 
days therefore, about twenty-five hundred men had collected at three or four 
different points, ready for junction. I was absent myself from Richmond (but 
always within observing distance of the enemy) three days only, during which I 
was never off my horse but to take food or rest, and was everywhere where my 
presence could be of any service ; and I may with confidence challenge any one 
to put his finger on the point of time when I was in a state of remissness from 
any duty of my station. But I was not with the army ! true ; for first, where 
was it ? second, I was engaged in the more important function of taking meas 
ures to collect an army ; and, without military education myself, instead of 
jeopardizing the public safety by pretending to take its command, of which I 
knew nothing, I had committed it to persons of the art, men who knew how to 
make the best use of it, to Steuben for instance, to Nelson and others, possess 
ing that military skill and experience, of which I had none. 

Let our condition, too, at that time be duly considered. Without arms, 
without money of effect, without a regular soldier in the State, or a regular 
officer, except Steuben, a militia scattered over the country, and called at a 
moment's warning to leave their families and firesides, in the dead of winter, to 
meet an enemy ready marshalled, and prepared at all points to receive them. 
Yet had time been given them by the hasty retreat of that enemy, I have no 
doubt but the rush to arms, and to the protection of their country, would have 
been as rapid and universal as in the invasion during our late war, when, at the 
first moment of notice, our citizens rose in mass, from every part of the State, 
and without waiting to be marshalled by their officers, armed themselves, and 
marched off by ones and by twos, as quickly as they could equip themselves. 
Of the individuals of the same house one would start in the morning, a second 

1 From a copy courteously furnished by Archibald Gary Coolidge. 

3 88 THE WRITINGS OF [1826 

tangible affections of the mind. Were these to be indulged as calls 
for writing letters to express them, my love to you would engross 
the unremitting exercises of my pen. I hear of you regularly 
however thro' your correspondents of the family, and also of 
Cornelia since she has joined you. She will find, on her return 

at noon, a third in the evening, no one waiting an hour for the company of 
another. This I saw myself on the late occasion, and should have seen on the 
former had wind, and tide, and a Howe, instead of an Arnold, slackened their 
pace ever so little. 

And is the surprise of an open and unarmed place, although called a city, 
and even a capital, so unprecedented as to be a matter of indelible reproach? 
Which of our own capitals during the same war, was not in possession of the 
same enemy, not merely by surprise and for a day only, but permanently ? 
That of Georgia? of South Carolina? North Carolina? Pennsylvania? New 
York ? Connecticut ? Rhode Island ? Massachusetts ? And if others were not, 
it was because the enemy saw no object in taking possession of them. Add to 
the list in the late war, Washington, the metropolis of the Union, covered by a 
fort, with troops and a dense population. And what capital on the continent 
of Europe, (St. Petersburg and its regions of ice excepted,) did not Bonaparte 
take and hold at his pleasure ? Is it then just that Richmond and its authori 
ties alone should be placed under the reproach of history, because, in a moment 
of peculiar denudation of resources, by the coup de main of an enemy, led on 
by the hand of fortune directing the winds and weather to their wishes, it was 
surprised and held for twenty-four hours ? Or strange that that enemy with 
such advantages, should be enabled then to get off, without risking the honors 
he had achieved by burnings and destructions of property peculiar to his princi 
ples of warfare ? We, at least, may leave these glories to their own trumpet. 

During this crisis of trial I was left alone, unassisted by the co-operation of 
a single public functionary. For, with the legislature, every member of the 
council had departed to take care of his own family. Unaided even in my 
bodily labors, but by my horse, and he, exhausted at length by fatigue, sunk un 
der me in the public road, where I had to leave him, and with my saddle and 
bridle on my shoulders, to walk afoot to the nearest farm, where I borrowed an 
unbroken colt, and proceeded to Manchester, opposite to Richmond, which the 
enemy had evacuated a few hours before. 

Without further pursuing these minute details, I will here ask the favor of 
you to turn to Girardin's History of Virginia, where such of them as are worthy 
the notice of history, are related in that scale of extension which its objects ad 
mit. That work was written at Milton, within two or three miles of Monti- 
cello ; and at the request of the author, I communicated to him every paper I 
possessed on the subject, of which he made the use he thought proper for his 
work. [See his pages 453, 460, and the appendix xi. xv.] I can assure you 
of the truth of every fact he has drawn from these papers, and of the genuine- 


some changes in our neighborhood. The removal of the family 
of Ashton to New London will be felt by us all ; and will scarcely 
be compensated by an increased intercourse with the house be 
yond them. Yesterday closed a visit of 6 weeks from the 
younger members of the latter, during which their attractions 

ness of such as he has taken the trouble of copying. It happened that during 
those eight days of incessant labor, for the benefit of my own memory, I 
carefully noted every circumstance worth it. These memorandums were often 
written on horseback, and on scraps of paper taken out of my pocket at 
the moment, fortunately preserved to this day, and now lying before me. I 
wish you could see them. But my papers of that period are stitched together 
in large masses, and so tattered and tender as not to admit removal further 
than from their shelves to a reading table. They bear an internal evidence of 
fidelity which must carry conviction to every one who sees them. We have 
nothing in our neighborhood which could compensate the trouble of a visit to 
it, unless perhaps our University, which I believe you have not seen, and I can 
assure you is worth seeing. Should you think so, I would ask as much of your 
time at Monticello as would enable you to examine these papers at your ease. 
Many others too are interspersed among them, which have relation to your 
object, many letters from Generals Gates, Greene, Stephens and others 
engaged in the Southern war, and in the North also. All should be laid 
open to you without reserve, for there is not a truth existing which I fear, or 
would wish unknown to the whole world. During the invasions of Arnold, 
Phillips and Cornwallis, until my time of office had expired, I made it a point, 
once a week, by letters to the President of Congress, and to General Wash 
ington, to give them an exact narrative of the transactions of the week. These 
letters should still be in the office of state in Washington, and in the presses at 
Mount Vernon. Or, if the former were destroyed by the conflagrations of the 
British, the latter are surely safe, and may be appealed to in corroboration of 
what I have now written. 

There is another transaction, very erroneously stated in the same work, which 
although not concerning myself, is within my own knowledge, and I think it a 
duty to communicate it to you. I am sorry that not being in possession of 
a copy of the memoirs, I am not able to quote the page, and still less the facts 
themselves, verbatim from the text. But of the substance, as recollected, I am 
certain. It is said there that, about the time of Tarleton's expedition up the 
north branch of James river to Charlottesville and Monticello, Simcoe was de 
tached up the southern branch, and penetrated as far as New London, in 
Bedford, where he destroyed a depot of arms, &c., &c. I was with my family, 
at the time, at a possession I have within three miles of New London, and I 
can assure you of my own knowledge that he did not advance to within fifty 
miles of New London. Having reached the lower end of Buckingham, as I 
have understood, he heard of a deposit of arms, and a party of new recruits un- 

390 THE WRITINGS OF [1826 

had kept us full of the homagers to their beauty. According to 
appearances they had many nibbles and bites, but whether the 
hooks took firm hold of any particular subject or not, is a secret 
not communicated to me. If not, we shall know it by a return 
to their angling grounds, for here they fix them until they catch 
something to their palate. The annual visit of the family en 
masse begins you know, the next month. Our near relationship 
of blood interests me of course in their success, for by ascending 
to my great grandfather and to their great, great, great grandfather, 
we come to a common ancestor. Shall I say anything to you of 
my health. It is as good as I ever expect it to be. At present 
tolerable, but subject to occasional relapses of sufferance. I am 
just now out of one of these. The pleasure of seeing yourself, 
Mr. Coolidge and Cornelia I begin to enjoy in anticipation ; and 
am sure I shall feel it's sanative effects when the moment arrives. 
I commit my affections to Mr. Coolidge to my letter to him. 
Communicate those to Cornelia by a thousand kisses from me, 
and take to yourself those I impress on this paper for you. 


MONTICELLO, June 24, 1826. 

RESPECTED SIR, The kind invitation I receive 
from you, on the part of the citizens of the city of 
Washington, to be present with them at their cele- 

der Baron Steuben, somewhere in Prince Edward ; he left the Buckingham 
road immediately, at or near Francisco's, pushed directly south at this new 
object, was disappointed, and returned to and down James river to head quar 
ters. I had then returned to Monticello myself, and from thence saw the 
smokes of his conflagration of houses and property on that river, as they succes 
sively arose in the horizon at a distance of twenty-five or thirty miles. I must 
repeat that his excursion from Francisco's is not from my own knowledge, but 
as I have heard it from the inhabitants on the Buckingham road, which for 
many years I travelled six or eight times a year. The particulars of that, there 
fore, may need inquiry and correction. 

These are all the recollections within the scope of your request, which I can 
state with precision and certainty ; and of these you are free to make what use 
you think proper in the new edition of your father's work ; and with which I 
pray you to accept the assurances of my great esteem and respect. 


bration on the fiftieth anniversary of American Inde 
pendence, as one of the surviving signers of an 
instrument pregnant with our own, and the fate of 
the world, is most flattering to myself, and height 
ened by the honorable accompaniment proposed for 
the comfort of such a journey. It adds sensibly to 
the sufferings of sickness, to be deprived by it of 
a personal participation in the rejoicings of that day. 
But acquiescence is a duty, under circumstances not 
placed among those we are permitted to control. I 
should, indeed, with peculiar delight, have met and 
exchanged there congratulations personally with the 
small band, the remnant of that host of worthies, who 
joined with us on that day, in the bold and doubtful 
election we were to make for our country, between 
submission or the sword ; and to have enjoyed with 
them the consolatory fact, that our fellow citizens, 
after half a century of experience and prosperity, 
continue to approve the choice we made. May it be 
to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts 
sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal 
of arousing men to burst the chains under which 
monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded 
them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings 
and security of self-government. That form which 
we have substituted, restores the free right to the un 
bounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. 
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of 
man. The general spread of the light of science has 
already laid open to every view the palpable truth, 
that the mass of mankind has not been born with 

392 THE WRITINGS OF [1826 

saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and 
spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace 
of God. These are grounds of hope for others. 
For ourselves, let the annual return of this day for 
ever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an 
undiminished devotion to them. 

I will ask permission here to express the pleasure 
with which I should have met my ancient neighbors 
of the city of Washington and its vicinities, with 
whom I passed so many years of a pleasing social in 
tercourse ; an intercourse which so much relieved the 
anxieties of the public cares, and left impressions so 
deeply engraved in my affections, as never to be for 
gotten. With my regret that ill health forbids me 
the gratification of an acceptance, be pleased to re 
ceive for yourself, and those for whom you write, 
the assurance of my highest respect and friendly 


[Mar. 1826.] 

I, Thomas Jefferson, of Monticello, in Albemarle, being of 
sound mind and in my ordinary state of health, make my last 
will and testament in manner and form as follows : 

I give to my grandson Francis Eppes, son of my dear deceased 
daughter Mary Eppes, in fee simple, all that part of my lands 
at Poplar Forest lying west of the following lines, to wit : be 
ginning at Radford's upper corner, near the double branches 
of Bear Creek and the public road, and running thence in a 
straight line to the fork of my private road, near the barn ; 
thence along that private road, (as it was changed in 1817,) to 
its crossing of the main branch of North Tomahawk Creek ; and 
from that crossing, in a direct line over the main ridge which 

1 8 2 6] THOMAS JEFFERSON. 393 

divides the North and South Tomahawk, to the South Toma 
hawk, at the confluence of two branches where the old road to 
the Waterlick crossed it, and from that confluence up the north- 
ermost branch, (which separate M'Daniels' and Perry's fields,) 
to its source ; and thence by the shortest line to my western 
boundary. And having, in a former correspondence with my 
deceased son-in-law John W. Eppes, contemplated laying off 
for him, with remainder to my grandson Francis, a certain por 
tion in the southern part of my lands in Bedford and Campbell, 
which I afterwards found to be generally more indifferent than 
I had supposed, and therefore determined to change its location 
for the better ; now to remove all doubt, if any could arise on a 
purpose merely voluntary and unexecuted, I hereby declare that 
what I have herein given to my said grandson Francis, is instead 
of, and not additional to, what I had formerly contemplated. I 
subject all my other property to the payment of my debts in the 
first place. Considering the insolvent state of the affairs of my 
friend and son-in-law Thomas Mann Randolph, and that what 
will remain of my property will be the only resource against 
the want in which his family would otherwise be left, it must 
be his wish, as it is my duty, to guard that resource against all 
liability for his debts, engagements or purposes whatsoever, and 
to preclude the rights, powers, and authorities over it, which 
might result to him by operation of law, and which might, in 
dependently of his will, bring it within the power of his credi 
tors, I do hereby devise and bequeath all the residue of my 
property, real and personal, in possession or in action, whether 
held in my own right, or in that of my dear deceased wife, ac 
cording to the powers vested in me by deed of settlement for 
that purpose, to my grandson Thomas J. Randolph, and my 
friends Nicholas P. Trist and Alexander Garrett, and their heirs, 
during the life of my said son-in-law Thomas M. Randolph, to 
be held and administered by them, in trust, for the sole and sep 
arate use and behoof of my dear daughter Martha Randolph, 
and her heirs ; and aware of the nice and difficult distinction of 
the law in these cases, I will further explain by saying, that I 
understand and intend the effect of these limitations to be, that 
the legal estate and actual occupation shall be vested in my said 

394 THE WRITINGS OF [1826 

trustees, and held by them in base fee, determinable on the 
death of my said son-in-law, and the remainder during the same 
time be vested in my said daughter and her heirs, and of course 
disposable by her last will, and that at the death of my said 
son-in-law, the particular estate of the trustees shall be deter 
mined, and the remainder, in legal estate, possession, and use, 
become vested in my said daughter and her heirs, in absolute 
property forever. In consequence of the variety and indescrib- 
ableness of the articles of property within the house at Monti- 
cello, and the difficulty of inventorying and appraising them 
separately and specifically, and its inutility, I dispense with hav 
ing them inventoried and appraised ; and it is my will that my 
executors be not held to give any security for the administration 
of my estate. I appoint my grandson Thomas Jefferson Ran 
dolph, my sole executor during his life, and after his death, I 
constitute executors my friends Nicholas P. Trist and Alexander 
Garrett, joining to them my daughter Martha Randolph, after the 
death of my said son-in-law Thomas M. Randolph. Lastly, I 
revoke all former wills by me heretofore made ; and in witness 
that this is my will, I have written the whole with my own 
hand on two pages, and have subscribed my name to each of 
them this sixteenth day of March, one thousand eight hundred 
and twenty-six. 

I, Thomas Jefferson, of Monticello, in Albemarle, make and 
add the following codicil to my will, controlling the same so far 
as its provisions go : 

I recommend to my daughter Martha Randolph, the mainten 
ance and care of my well beloved sister Anne Scott, and trust 
confidently that from affection to her, as well as for my sake, 
she will never let her want a comfort. I have made no specific 
provision for the comfortable maintenance of my son-in-law 
Thomas M. Randolph, because of the difficulty and uncertainty 
of devising terms which shall vest any beneficial interest in him, 
which the law will not transfer to the benefit of his creditors, 
to the destitution of my daughter and her family, and disable 
ment of her to supply him : whereas, property placed under the 
exclusive control of my daughter and her independent will, as 


if she were a feme sole, considering the relation in which she 
stands both to him and his children, will be a certain resource 
against want for all. 

I give to my friend James Madison, of Montpellier, my gold- 
mounted walking staff of animal horn, as a token of the cor 
dial and affectionate friendship which for nearly now an half 
century, has united us in the same principles and pursuits of 
what we have deemed for the greatest good of our country. 

I give to the University of Virginia my library, except such 
particular books only, and of the same edition, as it may already 
possess, when this legacy shall take effect : the rest of my said 
library, remaining after those given to the University shall have 
been taken out, I give to my two grandsons-in-law Nicholas P. 
Trist and Joseph Coolidge. To my grandson Thomas Jefferson 
Randolph, I give my silver watch in preference of the golden 
one, because of its superior excellence. My papers of business 
going of course to him, as my executor, all others of a literary or 
other character I give to him as of his own property. 

I give a gold watch to each of my grandchildren, who shall 
not have already received one from me, to be purchased and de 
livered by my executors to my grandsons, at the age of twenty- 
one, and granddaughters at that of sixteen. 

I give to my good, affectionate, and faithful servant Burwell, 
his freedom, and the sum of three hundred dollars, to buy neces 
saries to commence his trade of glazier, or to use otherwise, as 
he pleases. 

I give also to my good servants John Hemings and Joe Fosset, 
their freedom at the end of one year after my death ; and to 
each of them respectively, all the tools of their respective shops 
or callings ; and it is my will that a comfortable log-house be 
built for each of the three servants so emancipated, on some part 
of my lands convenient to them with respect to the residence of 
their wives, and to Charlottesville and the University, where they 
will be mostly employed, and reasonably convenient also to the 
interests of the proprietor of the lands, of which houses I give 
the use of one, with a curtilage of an acre to each, during his 
life or personal occupation thereof. 

I give also to John Hemings the service of his two apprentices 


Madison and Eston Hemings, until their respective ages of 
twenty-one years, at which period respectively, I give them their 
freedom ; and I humbly and earnestly request of the legislature 
of Virginia a confirmation of the bequest of freedom to these 
servants, with permission to remain in this State, where their 
families and connections are, as an additional instance of the 
favor, of which I have received so many other manifestations 
in the course of my life, and for which I now give them my 
last, solemn, and dutiful thanks. 

In testimony that this is a codicil to my will of yesterday's 
date, and that it is to modify so far the provisions of that will, I 
have written it all with my own hand in two pages, to each of 
which I subscribe my name, this seventeenth day of March, one 
thousand eight hundred and twenty-six. 











1743 o. s. 





The letters both to and from Jefferson are grouped under the name of each 
correspondent. All references in small type are to letters printed in footnotes ; 
those in roman letters are written by Jefferson, and those in italic to him. 


Aborigines, American (see Indians). 
ADAIR, JAMES, views of, on Indians, 

IX. 356- 

Vol. Page. 

1785, 21 June, IV. 60 

7 July, 67 

25 September, 99 

1786, 9 August, 260 

1787, 22 February, 369 
1804, 13 June, VIII. 306 

32 July. 308 

it September, 310 

1817, II January, X. 69 

Jefferson's conversation with, I. 
285. Jefferson's correspondence 
with, IV. 253; IX. 298. Indict 
ment of Jefferson by, VIII. 308. 
Death of, X. 113. 

1777, 16 May, II. 

21 August, 

1785, 31 July, iv. 

1786, 9 

27 August, 

1787, i July, 

28 September, 

1791, 17 July, V. 

30 August, 

1794, 25 April, VI. 

1796, 28 February, VII. 

28 December, 

1812, 21 January, 

20 April, 

ii June, 

1813, 15 

22 August, 

28 October, 











5 July, 

10 August, 

11 January, 
17 May, 

13 November, 

9 July, 

7 November, 
10 December, 
22 January, 

I June, 






15 October, 

i November, 



1823, 4 September, 
12 October, 

1825, 18 December, 

Arguments on Independence, I. 21. 
Account of the drafting of the 
Declaration of Independence, 25. 
Speech on Confederation, 40, 45. 
Opinion of British Constitution, 
165 ; IX. 295. Alleged writing of 
"Publicola," I. 168. Interview 
with Jefferson, 272. Offer of Mis 
sion to Jefferson, 272. Presidential 
policy of, 273. Not a Republican, 
274, 280 ; V. 352. Governmental 
theories of, I. 277. Poor appoint 
ments of, 280. Cabinet of, 282 ; 
IX. 388. Articles of "Davila," 

I. 285 ; V. 329. Opinion on per 
manence of Union, I. 300. Draft 
of Declaration in handwriting of, 

II. 241. Anecdote of, III. 299. 
Character of, 309; V. 104; IX. 
300. Squibs against, IV. 63. 
Portrait of, 325 ; V. 2. Desires 
to be recalled, IV. 368. Diplo 
matic expenses of, V. 13. Jef 
ferson thrown into antagonism to, 




ADAMS, JOHN (Confd.). 

329, 381. Attacks on, 347, 350. 
Criticised by Hamilton, 352. 
Jefferson explains his endorse 
ment of Paine's pamphlet to, 354. 
Plans of, VI. 98. Vote for Vice- 
President, 144, 147. Alleged arti 
cles of, 402. Scheme to defeat, 
VII. 91. Jefferson's preference 
for, 92. Congratulations to, on 
election to the Presidency, 95. 
Detachment from Hamilton, 103. 
Election of, 103. Opinion of Jef 
ferson, 107. Letter of, to Dai- 
ton, 108. Will not truckle to 
Great Britain, 109. Jefferson's 
friendship with, 115 ; VIII. 306. 
Attempt to produce alienation 
from Jefferson, VII. 120. Debate 
in Congress on speech of, 131. 
Declaration of, concerning Sen 
ate, 208. Partisans of, pay no 
regard to Washington's Birth 
day, 212. Proposed changes in 
administration of, 217. Insane 
message of. 219, 221. Objection 
able speech of, 234. Thrasonic 
addresses of, 247. Embarrassing 
conduct of, 495. Midnight ap 
pointments of, VIII. 25, 28, 32, 
36, 44, 46. Family appointments 
by, 38. Long absences from capi 
tal while President, 100. Suppres 
sion of Wood's History of Ad 
ministration of, 130. Washing 
ton's dislike of, 265. Relations 
of, with Jefferson, IX. 295. 
Sends Jefferson a gift of home 
spun cloth, 332. Taylor's reply 
to,X. 28. Reading of, 71. Health 
of, 103, 336. Secures fisheries, 
117. Correspondence with Cun 
ningham, 273, 307. Pickering's 
attack on, 306. Mental strength 

of, 337- 

1826, 30 March, X. 383 

Answer of Publicola to Paine by, 
V. 347, 351, 355. 38i. Appoint 
ment of, to Berlin, VII. 132. 
Appointment of, negatived, IX. 
249. Jefferson's consultation with, 
concerning embargo, X. 352, 356. 

[1800], 26 February, VII. 425 
1801, 29 March, VIII. 38 

Jefferson's veneration for, VII. 118 ; 
VIII. 39. Insults to, VIII. 39. 
Services of, X, 123. Character of, 


1770, it July, I. 381 

1771, 20 February, 387 
, i June, 394 

Agricultural Societies: Jefferson's plan 
for, VII. 492. 

Agriculture : American tendency to, 
III. 268. God's chosen vocation, 
268. Jefferson's interest in, IV. 
443 ; VI. 506, 509 ; X. 79. The 
principal object of America, V. 344. 
Neglect of , 420. Contempt for, 455. 
Prosperity of American, VI. 70. 
Notes on American, 81. System of 
American, 83. Question as to ad 
vantage of, X. 73. 

Agriculturists : The most valuable 
citizens, IV. 88. 

Albemarle County : Resolutions of, 
1774, I. 418. Address to inhabi 
tants of, IX. 250. 

Albinos : Cases of, in negroes, III. 174. 

sia, Emperor of), letter to, VIII. 
439. Character of, IX. 287. 

Alexandria, Va. : Future importance 
of, IV. 326. Address of, to Jef 
ferson, V. 146. 

ALEXANDRIA, VA., Mayor of. 

1790, II March, V. 146 

Algiers : Gift to, I. 183. Piracy of, 
V. 195 ; VI. 489. Resolution con 
cerning American prisoners in, V. 
401. Appropriation for convention 
with, 502. Information concerning, 
VII. 394. Tribute to, VIII. 63. 

A Hen Law (see also Kentucky Resolu 
tions), VII. 245, 247, 251, 260, 262, 
266, 283, 293, 311, 338, 371. Pe 
titions against, 354, 356. Jeffer 
son's characterization of, VIII. 22. 

Aliens : Proclamation concerning, II. 


ALLAN, ETHAN, declaration concern 
ing, I. 495. 

ALLEN, JOHN, report on, III, 387. 

in Burr's plot, IX. 13. 

America (see also South America ; 
U. S.) : U. S. a nest to populate 
all, I. 189. Settlement of, 429, 464. 



America (Confd). 

Alleged degeneracy of animals in, 
III. 135, 139. Disconnection of, 
from Europe, IX. 431. Separate 
interests from Europe, X. 164. 
Should have no kings or emperors, 


V. 2. 

AMES, FISHER, speculation in public 
funds, I. 285. Probable defeat of, 

VI. 134- 

Anas, JEFFERSON'S, I. 154. 


1781, 31 March, II. 513 

Animals : Alleged degeneracy of, in 
America, III. 135, 139. 

Annapolis Convention : Meeting of, 
I. 157, 275. Failure of, IV. 332, 

Anti-Federalists (see also Republican 
party ; Political parties) : Un 
reconciled to constitution, V. 136. 
Disappearance of, 152. 


1816, 18 July, X. 46 

1817, i August, 
1820, 13 July, 

Appointments (see also Civil Service ; 
Office-holders; Removal}: Rights 
of President and Senate in, V. 161. 
Principles governing, VIII. 44. 
Principles governing Jefferson's, 68. 
Policy as regards papers concerning, 
211. Reduction in number of, 217. 
Right of Congress to documents re 
lating to, 412. Circular letter con 
cerning, IX. 248. 

Arbitration : Offer of, V. 365. 

Argand Lamp, IV. 13,205. 

Aristocracy : A natural, among men, 
IX. 425. As a protection against 
the majority, 425. European, 428. 

ARMAND, COLONEL, legion of, III. 53. 

Arms: Purchase of, I. 389. Scarcity 
of, II. 266, 282, 309, 329, 340, 404 ; 
III. 2, 12, 46. Manufactory of, II. 


1804, 26 May, VIII. 302 

1806, 14 February, VIII. 423 

1807, 17 July, IX. 116 

1808, 2 May, 193 
1813, 21 February, IX. 380 
Negotiator to Spain, I. 308. Offer 

of French mission to, VIII. 302. 
VOL. x. 26 

Excitement against, 423. Quarrel 
with Bowdoin, 460. Incapacity 
of, IX. 484. 

Army (see U. S. Army). 


1781, 24 March, II. 511 

(See also Virginia), Invasion of 
Virginia under, II. 392, 395-514 ; 
III. 41 ; X. 148. Possible capture 
of, II. 441. Not the proposer of 
the Canadian expedition, IV. 309. 
At Detroit, V. 199. 


1789, 19 July, V. 102 
Assignals, French : Question of pay 
ments raised by, V. 383. Fluctua 
tion of, VI. 151, 200. 

Association (see Congress, Conti 

Assumption of State Debts (see also 
Hamilton) : History of, I. 161 ; V. 
150, 158, 163, 184, 185, 187, 191, 
192, 194, 197, 203, 212, 213 ; VI. 
172. Disapprobation of, V. 250. 
Virginian dislike of, 300. Second, 


1812, 24 May, IX. 351 

Organization of fur company by, 
IX. 200. 

Asylum (see also Expatriation; Im 
pressment} : Right of, VI. 426. 

ATHANASIUS, dogmas of, X. 219. 

Aurora (see also Duane) : Duane's 
prosecution for publication in, I. 
185 ; VIII. 56. A Republican news 
paper, V. 336 ; VI. 106. Publica 
tion of confidential paper in, VII. 
81. Change in, 135. Governmental 
influence in, 361. Financial straits 
of, IX. 311. Attacks of, on Madi 
son, 314. 


1816, 9 January, X. 7 

9 February, it 


1790, 2 April, V. 



BACHE, B. F. (see Aurora). 

BACHE, DR. FRANKLIN (?), proposed 

purchase at Charlottesville, VII. 315. 

1803, 30 April, VIII. 228 

BAIREUTH, Memoirs of the Margrave 

of, IX. 437, 494. 



Balloon, IV. 60. 

BANCROFT, AARON, Unitarian sermons 

of, X. 287. 

1786, 36 February. III. 74 

1789, 26 January, V. 66 

Sank, National: Proposed creation 
of, IX. 433. 

Bank of North America : Pennsyl 
vania opposition to, IV. 286. 

Bank, U. S. (see also Banks) : Influ 
ence of, on government, I. 164. 
Circulating medium of, 208. Favor 
itism by, 225. Bill to incorporate, 
278 ; V. 275, 282. Opinion on 
constitutionality of, V. 284. Unpop 
ular in South ,296. Subscriptions to, 
349. 35. 35 2 - Dividend of, 420. 
Fall in stock of, 459, 510. Plan to 
establish branch in Richmond, VI. 
98. Curtailment of discounts, 148. 
Evil influence of, VII. 80. Ruin 
caused by, 104. Hostility of, to U. 
S. government, VIII. 284. Refusal 
of Congress to re-charter, IX. 406. 

Bankruptcy : Opinion upon bill, VI. 
145. General principles of, 145. 
Law not needed by farmers, 148, 
149. Cases of commercial, VII. 423, 
431. Compromise as to, X. 198. 

Banks: Condemnation of, I. 277. 
Relations of U. S. government with, 
VIII. 156, 172, 284. Jefferson's 
desire for support from, 172. Galla- 
tin's approval of, IX. 318. Should 
not be allowed to issue paper money, 
393, 417. Inordinate issue of notes 
by, 453- Suspend specie payments, 
488 ; X. 147, 150, 157. Difficulties 
caused by paper notes of, IX. 497. 
Mania for, 499 ; X. 2. Abuse of 
paper issues, X. 133, 170, 176. 
Curse of, 254. 


1791, 30 August, V. 377 

Almanac of, V. 377, 379. Capacity 
of, IX, 261. 

Barbary States (see also Algiers ; 
Morocco; Tunis): Proposed concert 
against, I. 91 ; IV. 264. Squadron 
to cruise against, I. 293, 297. Peace 
with, IV. 10. Observations on, 33. 
Negotiations with, 199. Measure 
to be taken against, 220. News of, 
IV. 227, 295 ; V. 514. Jefferson's 
view concerning, IV. 450. Ameri 

can captives in, V. 64, 125, 274. 
Depredations of, VIII. 62. Rela 
tions with, 117, 491 ; IX. 158. 
Captures of American ships by, 
VIII. 183. U. S. policy towards, 
221. War with, 270, 328, 392. 
Naval force to check, X. 239. 

BARCLAY, T., position of, IV. 394. 


1792, 20 June, VI. 88 
1802, 3 May, VIII. 148 

1806, 24 February, 424 

1807, 10 December, IX. 168 

1809, 8 October, 261 

1 8 10, 24 January, 268 

1811, 16 April, 322 
Value of works of, VI. 88. Pro 
posed history of the Revolution, 
IX. 269. 

BARRETT, N., Jefferson's debt to, VI. 


1815, I May, IX. 515 

BARRUEL, ABBE, book by, VII. 419. 

BARRY, CAPT. J., refusal of Jefferson 
to regard death of, VIII. 264. 


1790, 12 August, V. 222 

1801, 14 February, VII. 489 


1792, i April, V. 491 

Batture Case, IX. 275, 283. Jeffer 
son's brief in, 332, 338. Ending 
of, 338. 

BAYARD, JAMES A., alleged offers of, 
I. 291. Deposition of, 312. 

BECKLEY, J., gossip of, I. 231. Too 
credulous, 233. Retirement of, VII. 

BECKWITH, G., informal negotiations 
with, I. 172 ; V. 224,418. Conver 
sation with Jefferson, I. 173 ; V. 
321. Information from, V. 324. 
Criticism of Jefferson, 332. 

Beer : Advantages of, X. 2. 


I 793 r 3 February, VI. 179 

Berlin Decrees (see also France), IX. 
185, 252, 282. 

BEVERLEY, R., III. 281. 


1807, ii July, IX. 106 

Bill of Kights, V. 5, 47. Jefferson's 
wish for, IV. 476 ; VI. 104. Addi 
tion of, to Constitution, V. 3. Ne 
cessity for, 42. Every one in France 



Bill of Rights (Cont'd). 

trying his hand at, 64. Importance 
of, 8 1. Proposed French, 107. 
Suggestions for, 112. Jefferson's 
opinion concerning, 255. 

BINGHAM, WILLIAM, character of , IV. 


1788, ii May, V. 8 


1808, 13 November, IX. 225 

BISHOP, SAMUEL, appointment of, 
VIII. 67,81. 

BLACKDEN, COL. SAMUEL, information 
to be furnished by, IV. 301. 


1792, i April, V. 490 

acterization of, IX. 474. Attempt 
to improve condition of slave, 477. 

1779, 8 June, II. 190 

18 194 

1781, 9 February, 448 

BLENNERHASSETT, H., proceedings of 
flotilla under, IX. i. Possible in 
formation from, 63. Trial of, 63. 

Blockade : Principles of, VI. 242. 
What constitutes, 416. 

BLOUNT, WILLIAM, impeachment of, 
I. 279 ; VII. 190, 192, 195, 198, 

BOLINGBROKE, LORD, Jefferson's opin 
ion of, X. 183. 


1787, 23 July, IV. 411 

BOLLMAN, ERIC, arrest of, IX. 4. 
Information concerning Burr, 52. 
Pardon of, 52. Course to be taken 
towards, 58. 

BONAPARTE, JEROME, marriage of, to 
Miss Patterson, VIII. 277. 

military movements of, VII. 142, 
318 ; IX. 128, 130, 137, 257. Seizes 
government of France, VII. 412, 
417, 422. Jefferson's opinion of, 
425 ; IX. 445, 461, 519 ; X. n, 95, 
461. Policy of, IX. 243. Down 
fall of, 502, 504. Return from 
Elba, 525. The choice of his 
nation, 529. 

Books (see also Jefferson) : List of, I. 
396. Purchase of, IV. 3. Evil of 
tariff on, X. 194. 

Boston Port Bill : Illegality of, I. 438. 

Botany : Jefferson's interest in, VII. 

BOTTA, C., history of, IX. 527 ; X. 

BOTTETOURT, LORD, character of, X. 


Boundaries (see United Stales). 

1805, 27 April, VIII. 350 

1806, 26 July, 460 

1807, 2 April, IX. 39 

10 July, 104 
Appointed U. S. Minister to Spain, 

VIII. 460. Misunderstanding 
with Armstrong, 460. 
BOWLES, W. A., attempt of, to excite 

Creeks, V. 404. Influence of, over 

Creeks, VI. 332. 
Brazil: News of, IV. 379. Probable 

revolt in, 380. Information desired 

concerning, V. 317. 

1800, 29 January, VII. 416 

1 8 December, 468 
1803, 24 November, VIII. 279 


1803, is August, VIII. 343 

18 344 

i8ai, ii December, VII. 399 


1789, 14 March, V. 78 

Recommendation of, IV. 461. 


1807, 10 March, IX. 33 
British Debts (see Debts). 

British Party in U. S. (see also Fed- 
eralists). V. 375; VI. 251; VII. 
280 ; IX. 359. 

British Posts (see Posts, Frontier). 


1795, 18 April, VII. 6 

1808, 27 October, IX. 2IO 

1788, 26 May, V. 16 


1798, 25 March, VII. 222 

Brutus: Fitting out of ship, IX. 4, 


BRY, DE, voyages of, IX. 356. 

1787, i October, IV. 457 

III.7I. Honor to, 145, 165. Opin 
ion on mammoth, 132. On de 
generacy of animals in new world, 
r 35. 1 39- Theory of central heat, 
369. Jefferson sends book to, IV. 



Bu/on (Confd). 

102. Desires to see elk, 189. 
Jefferson's gifts to, 457. Jeffer 
son's meeting with, X. 331. Jef 
ferson's gift of skins to, 332. 
Bunker Hill: Battle of, I. 459, 461, 
485. Number of troops engaged at, 
IV. 300. 

BURKE, ./EDANUS, pamphlet on Cin 
cinnati, IV. 172. 

BURKE, EDMUND, Toryism of, V. 333. 

1801, 21 June, VIII. 65 

1805, i 357 


1 797, 17 June, VII. 145 

1798, 20 May, 254 

26 ass 

16 June, S7 

i a November, 258 

1799, II February, 347 

1800, 15 December, 466 

1801, i February, 485 

18 November, VIII. 102 
(See also Blennerhassetl; Wilkinson). 

And election of 1800, I. 291 ; 
VII. 467; VIII. 12; IX. 114. 
Van Ness' pamphlet on, I. 300. 
Relations with Jefferson, 301, 
311 ; VII. 254, 468, 485 ; IX. 43, 
114. Conspiracy of , I. 318, 319, 
323 ; VIII. 424, 454, 468, 473, 
474, 489, 497, 501, 503, 504 5 IX. 
2, 7, 65, in, 162, 210, 280. 
Proclamation against, VIII. 481. 
Accomplices of, IX. 4, 31, 38. 
Intrigues with foreign nations, 4, 
211, 454. Special message on, 
, 14, 21. Trial of, 41, 42, 44, 
52, 66, 68, in, 142, 143, 163. 


1818, 14 March, X. 104 

BURWELL, REBECCA, Jefferson's early 
love for, I. 342-357. 


1805, 28 January, VIII. 340 

1806, 15 415 

17 September, 468 
1808, 22 November, IX. 228 

BUTLER, J., report on, III. 382. 

1791, a December, V. 401 

1800, II August, VII. 449 

1801, 26 VIII. 82 

1781, i March, II. 470 


1814, 31 January, 

1815, 5 
1818, 14 
1820, 22 

IX. 451 

X. 98 


28 November, 165 
1826, 7 February, 372 

CABELL, S. J., presented by grand 
jury, VII. 159, 171. 

Cabinet : Dissensions in Washington's, 
VI. 101 ; IX. 273, 307. Monarch- 
ism in, VI. 261. Jefferson's ap 
pointments to, VIII. 14. Modes 
of communicating with President, 
99. Rumors of dissensions in Jef 
ferson's, 432. How far a check on 
President, IX. 69. Friction in 
Madison's, 264, 269. 

Cabinet Councils : Jefferson's desire to 
avoid, VI. 431. Method of busi 
ness in, IX. 273. 

Cabot Family : Arms of, VII. 480. 


1811, 16 September, IX. 329 


1799, 6 September, VII. 392 

6 October, 393 
Gift of money to, VII. 282, 392. 

Should be substantially defended, 
448. Fine refunded by private 
contributions, VIII. 58. Threat 
of, 61. Base ingratitude of, 164- 
167. History of Jefferson's rela 
tions with, 164-167, 308. 
CALONNE, C. A. DE, report to Nota 
bles, I. 97. Disappoints expecta 
tion, V. 43. Propositi